Eight-five students from the Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine (TouroCOM) in Harlem joined with 1,200 osteopathic medical students from around the country on March 6 to meet with elected officials and their staff members to advocate for important health policy issues that affect medical education and the practice of medicine.Organized by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), “DO Day on Capitol Hill” is the main opportunity, presented annually, for DOs and osteopathic students to come to Washington, D.C. and talk to members of Congress and their staff face-to-face. This year the group’s primary aim was to promote passage of three pieces of legislation. TouroCOM students explained to Congress the need for additional funding for more residency positions for students in teaching hospitals; to change how physicians would be reimbursed by Medicare and Medicaid; and the need to expand availability of hospital clerkships for students attending medical schools in the United States by changing federal student loan regulations.
“The students had a clear grasp of the challenges confronting medical education and the workforce needs as we strive to meet important provisions of the Affordable Care Act,” said Dean Robert Goldberg, DO. Dr. Goldberg stressed the importance of students taking the time and making the effort to go to Washington. “DO Day serves to educate the students about the responsibilities they will have as they train to take care of patients in the future.”
Some of the TouroCOM contingent met with representatives from their home districts, while others met with elected officials representing Harlem. Among the New York officials students met with were Congressman Charles Rangel, who represents TouroCOM’s district, and Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer.
“I was extremely proud of all the TouroCOM students who participated and advocated for our profession,” said Aldo Manresa, a second year TouroCOM student and president of the school’s Student Government Association. “It is very important that we stay active and involved, because what we do now will affect us all in the future.”
Since its founding in 2007, TouroCOM has dedicated itself to encouraging minorities to enter medicine and to increasing the number of primary care physicians. The number of underrepresented minorities graduating TouroCOM is twice the average number for colleges of osteopathic medicine.
Pictured above is the TouroCOM delegation at a meeting and panel discussion with AOA officials held at the Washington Convention Center, where the group discussed advocating on Capitol Hill before going to their meetings. Pictured in the center are Martin Levine, DO, associate dean for educational development, and Dean Goldberg.
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