Pictured: NYITCOM students from the Long Island campus visited the New York State Capitol in Albany to educate lawmakers on osteopathic medicine’s role in the state and U.S. health care system.
On March 6, NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine (NYTCOM) students from the Long Island and Jonesboro campuses took a break from their studies to advocate for policies affecting health care and patients at “D.O. Day.”
The annual day of activism, recognized nationally by the osteopathic community, was started by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) to encourage future and current doctors of osteopathic medicine (D.O.s) to meet face-to-face with elected officials on key issues. Similar to previous years, D.O. Day took place in conjunction with statewide advocacy events, including the Medical Society of the State of New York’s Lobby Day.
Medical students from the Long Island campus traveled to the New York State Capitol in Albany to educate lawmakers on osteopathic medicine’s role in the state and U.S. health care system. Students asked the officials to support a proposal to raise the minimum age to buy tobacco products, a bill to ensure refillable prescriptions are made available at the same time each month, and legislation that would prevent cost-saving measures by health insurers that would push patients with chronic illness to different, and potentially less effective, medications.
NYITCOM at A-State students tour the state capitol at Little Rock, Ark.
Approximately 50 students from NYITCOM at Arkansas State University (NYITCOM at A-State) traveled to the state capitol in Little Rock to focus on the campus mission to expand health care within the Mississippi Delta region. During their visit, student doctors visited the Capitol Rotunda, where they conducted blood pressure screenings, provided general information about NYITCOM at A-State programs and demonstrated the cutting-edge telemedicine equipment used to train NYITCOM medical students while interacting with public officials. Later that day, students also heard from prominent state lawmakers on policies and potential changes that could impact health care and physicians in Arkansas. The trip concluded with a brief meeting with Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, who addressed the student doctors and posed for a photo with the group.
In Jonesboro, NYITCOM at A-State students also participated in events focused on rural health and social determinants of health. Presentations on these topics were given by Community Health Centers of Arkansas CEO LaShannon Spencer, Craighead County Sheriff Marty Boyd, and NYITCOM at A-State Professor Steve Pu, D.O.
Encouraging osteopathic medical students to continue their passion for activism, the AOA recommends osteopathic medical students engage in their communities, become active with their local Student Osteopathic Medical Association (SOMA) chapter, and join local and state osteopathic groups to advocate year-round.
“Advocacy is so important because lawmakers need professional input on upcoming bills to ensure our patients are put first,” said James Docherty, third-year NYITCOM student at the Long Island campus, who traveled to Albany for D.O. Day 2019. “Without our input, predicted impacts on patient care from new legislation may be incomplete and potentially endanger their health care.”
Docherty also chairs the Committee on Medical Education, a 2018-2019 American Medical Association (AMA) Medical Student Section Standing (MSS) Committee.
By Kim Tucker