Osteopathic medicine students Vash Patel (DO ’20) and Yassmin Shariff (DO ’20) completed
a four week public policy program at the state Capitol.
Two PCOM Georgia Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) students recently completed a four week public policy rotation with the Medical Association of Georgia (MAG). Vash Patel (DO ’20) and Yassmin Shariff (DO ’20) spent their time under the Georgia State Capitol’s “Gold Dome” meeting with state legislators about a wide variety of healthcare policies.
Donald J. Palmisano, Jr, executive director of MAG, said, “It was a real honor and a pleasure working with Yassmin and Vash during their MAG rotation. I have a greater sense of optimism knowing that we have medical students in Georgia who have a genuine interest in the overall healthcare system and who understand the vital role that organizations like MAG play when it comes to the state’s practice environment and the policy-making process.”
Patel said he enjoyed the rotation because it was different than any other rotations he’s completed in the past. “I don’t have a background in healthcare policy and I know about as much as the next med student,” he said, “but I knew health care was a central debate in the upcoming national elections so it just made sense to try and understand the minutia.”
Shariff said, “I applied for the rotation to learn more about health policy and how I as a future physician can make a more direct impact. I truly think my short time with MAG at the state Capitol gave me a lot more tools to be a strong advocate for patients.”
The two discussed their experience following HB 888, a bill initiated in the state House of Representatives that is aimed at eliminating “surprise billing.” They had the opportunity to see the bill’s verbiage change week to week and to understand who was pushing the changes.
“We were on conference calls with more than 30 physicians and MAG leadership to discuss the bill. We sat down with Rep. Lee Hawkins, the bill’s sponsor, to review and modify it alongside MAG,” Patel recalled.
“Overall it put a lot of things in perspective for me about why policy often takes such a long time to enact,” he said. “I think it’s rare for a medical student to get an opportunity to watch healthcare policy get made.”
Shariff said she learned how important it is to be a part of advocacy organizations like MAG. “Legislators don’t always have a background in medicine and physicians in the community can be particularly helpful by advising on healthcare policy or running for office themselves,” she said, calling the rotation “one of the best in medical school.”
Patel added, “Having completed the rotation, I would say that it very much lived up to my expectations and went beyond. I would recommend this rotation to everyone who plans on working in health care.”
Palmisano was complimentary of Shariff and Patel. “They represented PCOM and their fellow medical students in exemplary ways, and I am confident that they’re going to be delivering some excellent patient care for many years to come,” he said. “The future of the medical profession in Georgia is clearly in good hands.”
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 which has a storied history as a premier osteopathic medical school. PCOM Georgia offers doctoral degrees in osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, and physical therapy and graduate degrees in biomedical sciences 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. 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 pcom.edu or call 678-225-7500.
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