Young Leaders

During caucus, students vote to support single GME accreditation system

Roughly 150 students attended the National Osteopathic Student Caucus, which was open to all osteopathic medical students.

In advance of the AOA House of Delegates’ meeting, osteopathic medical students met Wednesday night to form a consensus opinion on more than a dozen resolutions relevant to osteopathic medical education. Roughly 150 students attended the Council of Osteopathic Student Government Presidents’ National Osteopathic Student Caucus, which was open to all osteopathic medical students, and more than 500 people listened in online.

During the caucus, students voted without much deliberation to support resolutions on increasing GME training opportunities, assuring GME residency positions to graduates of U.S. medical schools, and providing medical students with access to electronic medical records. They also supported a resolution to prohibit agreements between hospitals and medical schools that result in proprietary training opportunities.

However, students spent a significant amount of time discussing resolutions on the single GME accreditation system. The caucus approved the Student Osteopathic Medical Association’s resolution supporting the single GME accreditation system. The group also voted down a resolution calling for the AOA to withdraw from the current transition process if certain conditions are not met.

Arta Zowghi, OMS IV, who helped lay the groundwork on SOMA’s single GME resolution, told The DO that she and her colleagues had put tremendous work into preparing it.

“We did so much research,” said Zowghi, who attends the Midwestern University/Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine (MWU/AZCOM) in Glendale. “Originally we didn’t have a position. But we were invited to a single accreditation seminar in May, and then we finally felt that we had that information we needed to make an educated decision.”

Robert Wills, OMS III, noted after the caucus that SOMA’s single GME resolution was the most important one discussed. He was enthusiastic about the possibilities of a unified system.

“I don’t know where I’m going to end up in residency,” said Wills, who attends the Touro University Nevada College of Osteopathic Medicine in Henderson. “And I don’t know if I’m going to want to do any fellowships following that. I’d like to have as many options as possible. I’m also hopeful that this transition will help set up a single match. I’d like to have the opportunity to participate in a single match, but I’d be happy just to see future students have that chance.”

Blue Ribbon Commission

The caucus also voted against a resolution opposing the Blue Ribbon Commission report, which provided recommendations for the future of osteopathic medical education. The resolution specifically opposed shortening the length of physician training.

Speaking in support of the commission’s report, Frank A. Cusimano, OMS II, of MWU/AZCOM, compared the commission’s work to the innovative spirit of Andrew Taylor Still, MD, DO, who tried to find a better way to heal patients. The commission, established by the AOA and the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, is seeking to innovate, and an opposition resolution could prevent the osteopathic medical profession from adapting and moving forward, he noted.

During the AOA House meeting this weekend, student leaders will present the caucus’s results as unified student opinion on the House floor.

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