As the health care landscape continues to evolve, DOs have been stepping up to provide an osteopathic voice on Capitol Hill and educate lawmakers on the value of the osteopathic perspective. Federal committees and commissions appointed 18 DOs during the AOA’s 2016 fiscal year, which ran from June 2015 through May 2016. That’s up from four DO appointments during the 2015 fiscal year.
“It’s a pretty substantial increase, which is very exciting,” says Ray Quintero, the AOA’s senior vice president of public policy. “Moreover, we’ve seen that as the profession gains visibility on Capitol Hill and among key policymakers, it helps open doors for future DO appointments.”
Appointed to the Health Resources and Services Administration Advisory Committee for Primary Care Training and Dentistry this spring, Teshina N. Wilson, DO, says she was honored to have the chance to provide osteopathic input in this capacity.
“Serving on the committee is an amazing opportunity to represent our profession,” says Dr. Wilson, who is also a family medicine physician in Pinole, California. “I’m looking forward to drafting recommendations with my colleagues that have the potential to impact medical and dental training in the near future.”
High-profile DO federal appointments in 2016
|Advisory body||DO appointees|
|Commission on Care||Joyce M. Johnson, DO (appointed by President Barack Obama)|
|President’s Council on Fitness Sports & Nutrition Science Board||Rebeccah R. Rodriguez, DO|
|Health Resources Services Agency Advisory Committee on Training in Primary Care Medicine and Dentistry||Teshina N. Wilson, DO, and John W. Sealey, DO|
|Health Care Payment Learning & Action Network Primary Care Payment Model Work Group||Bruce Williams, DO|
Source: AOA Department of Public Policy data
Patient care focus
The increased DO presence on Capitol Hill isn’t just good news for physicians, says Laura Wooster, MPH, the AOA’s vice president of public policy.
“With so many issues on the table that affect public health, having an osteopathic voice will help not just DOs, but patients, too,” she says. “For example, DOs’ ability to use osteopathic manipulative treatment to address pain brings a unique dimension to the fight against opioid abuse, and the osteopathic whole-person approach to care dovetails perfectly with efforts around prevention.”
The AOA’s elevation of the osteopathic presence in federal policymaking was facilitated by these key strategies:
- Targeted, robust nominations: When osteopathic physicians are nominated for positions that resonate with DOs’ unique training and approach to patient care, it’s more likely to result in a successful appointment, Quintero says. When nominating DOs for appointment, the AOA’s public policy team procures extra letters of support and, for key appointments, arranges meetings between osteopathic physicians and members of Congress to assist in relationship-building. AOA leadership guides and approves each nomination.
- Ongoing support: Once appointed to a federal committee or commission, DOs receive briefing materials and ongoing assistance from the AOA’s public policy team. They also relay key information for physicians back to the AOA for dissemination across the profession.
- Data optimization: To guide future nominations, the AOA maintains a database of osteopathic physician leaders and their areas of expertise. “Federal committees sometimes seek nominees with very specific qualifications, such as physicians from a particular region who serve a rural population of mainly women,” Quintero says. “Leveraging our data greatly increases our ability to nominate a DO who fits the key metrics.” DOs can submit their information to the database by emailing a CV to firstname.lastname@example.org.