GA-PCOM Students Advocate in Washington, D.C.April 25, 2017
GA-PCOM’s Farrah Rink and Sahar Rahim, on both sides of Georgia seventh district Congressman
Rob Woodwall, are shown with Rami Tabbaa and Roy Lee, students at the Alabama College
of Osteopathic Medicine.
Three Georgia Campus - Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (GA-PCOM) students, along with several alumni, traveled to Washington, D.C. recently
to discuss health care with Georgia’s senators and congressional representatives.
Hosted by the American Osteopathic Association, “DO Day on Capitol Hill” brought together hundreds of osteopathic medical students
and graduates from across the country to advocate about healthcare issues.
One of the main topics addressed was reauthorization of the Teaching Health Centers Graduate Medical Education (THCGME) program, which provides residents with medical training in underserved areas of the
country. Support of this program, as alumni Rachel Gougian, DO ‘16, explained, would
allow the training to continue, while addressing the gaps in healthcare accessibility,
and providing sustainable long-term outcomes.
Prior to the hill visits, participants were schooled in how to effectively communicate
issues with legislators. GA-PCOM’s Riona Boozé (DO ‘20) was actively engaged in the
training and offered advice to new participants about what to expect in their interactions
on the hill.
On the agenda for Georgia’s constituents were meetings with the offices of U.S. Senator
Johnny Isakson, U.S. Senator David Perdue and U.S. Representative Rob Woodall in which
the legislators or their staff members were informed about the basics of osteopathic
medicine and the importance of reauthorizing THCGME. Representative Woodall raised
questions about the transactional nature of medicine today, health disparities across
Georgia, and the distinction between coverage and access to care. The students discussed
how partnering with patients can be an asset to delivering care in a time when medicine
has become seemingly less personal.
The medical students also shared common challenges physicians face such as student
loan debt and time constraints with patients. Sahar Rahim (DO ‘19) discussed preventable
chronic diseases that are often overlooked as major causes of mortality nationwide,
while Farrah Rink (DO ‘19) emphasized the importance of political advocacy as a means
to foster legislative change.
Before the journey ended, GA-PCOM students had a chance encounter with Dr. Regina
Benjamin, 18th Surgeon General of the United States. Awaiting flights to Atlanta,
they exchanged stories and Dr. Benjamin imparted some wisdom. “You can’t feel defeated,”
she said when asked about patient noncompliance.
She explained that whatever the challenges may be, physicians have the responsibility
to persevere in empowering patients to make the best decisions for themselves. They
discussed how patient autonomy is the cornerstone of change and the importance of
patient education, service and outreach. Minutes before departure, pleasantries were
exchanged, business cards were swapped, and photos were snapped. Just like that, the
group parted ways after a beneficial and educational experience in the nation’s capital.
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About PCOM Georgia
Established in 2005, PCOM Georgia is a private, not-for-profit, accredited institute of higher education dedicated
to the healthcare professions. The Suwanee, Georgia, campus is affiliated with Philadelphia
College of Osteopathic Medicine, a premier osteopathic medical school with a storied
history. PCOM Georgia offers doctoral degrees in osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, and
physical therapy and graduate degrees in biomedical sciences, medical laboratory science,
and physician assistant studies. Emphasizing "a whole person approach to care," PCOM
Georgia focuses on educational excellence, interprofessional education and service
to the wider community. For more information, visit pcom.edu/georgia or call 678-225-7500. The campus is also home to the Georgia Osteopathic Care Center,
an osteopathic manipulative medicine clinic, which is open to the public by appointment.
For more information, visit pcomgeorgiahealth.org.
For more information, contact:
Senior Public Relations Manager
Office: 678-225-7532 | Cell:
Connect with PCOM Georgia