Osteopathic physicians and medical students from across the nation gathered in Washington DC in early March to meet with their congressmen and congresswomen to discuss issues affecting healthcare and the osteopathic profession.
Nine VCOM-Carolinas students and two faculty members attended the annual “DO Day on the Hill” event. They met with representatives to advocate for a five year reauthorization of the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education (THC GME) program that provides funding to residencies focused on primary care services. Additionally, they asked congress to allow Health Savings Account (HSA) dollars to be used for medical services provided by Direct Primary Care practices.
Class of 2021 student Alison Markley was among those representing VCOM-Carolinas. Markley serves as president of the campus chapter of the Student Osteopathic Medical Association and as an Admissions Ambassador.
“It was a great opportunity to voice how those two policies would affect the state of South Carolina specifically,” she reflected.
In addition to meeting a variety of osteopathic physicians in a broad range of fields, networking, and making valuable professional connections, students learned about the importance of representatives hearing the opinions of their constituents. They also learned the value of participating in medical policy beyond campus.
“As medical students, we can get so wrapped up in studying and what is only happening at school,” said Markley, “but so much more of medicine is happening outside of that and there are so many opportunities that exist for a student to get involved on state and national levels. You just have to take advantage of them!”