Capitol Hill Takeover

Why we advocate: DOs, students discuss education funding and medical volunteerism on DO Day

DOs and students spent the day speaking with members of Congress about pressing issues in osteopathic medicine.

Last week, medical students and DOs engaged with Congress and lawmakers to advocate for the profession for DO Day 2018.

During Capitol Hill meetings, medical students and DOs shared their personal experiences to illustrate why access to student loan programs in The Higher Education Act and the protection of medical volunteers via the Good Samaritan Heath Professionals Act are of critical importance to physicians.

Support from members of Congress to cosponsor the Good Samaritan Act hit close to home for Roozehra Khan, DO, an assistant professor of clinical medicine at Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California and an attending critical care physician. She is waiting to hear back from several medical organizations for clearance to travel to Puerto Rico as a volunteer physician.

“Being able to freely go there in a quick manner would be really important,” Dr. Khan says.

Celebrating last year’s advocacy win

Students and DOs also had the opportunity to personally thank members of Congress who voted to reauthorize funding for the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education program for two more years. This advocacy win will ensure funding to train primary care physicians in underserved areas.

Natasha Thiagalingam, OMS I, at the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine, feels students are best suited to engage members of Congress.

“These students are fresh faces entering into the profession. For lawmakers to hear directly from us makes a big impact,” Thiagalingam says.

For additional reading:

DO Day 2018: Over 1,000 DOs and osteopathic medical students storm the nation’s capital

Kathleen Sebelius on health care policy and importance of access and prevention

Scope of practice expansion efforts: What you need to know

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