Students Host Healthcare Workforce Panel with Rep. Dwight EvansDecember 4, 2019
The panel discussion focused on the need for more funding and personnel in the primary
A need for more primary care physicians is crucial; Every additional primary care
physician per 10,000 Americans results in a 5 percent decrease in outpatient visits,
a 5.5 percent decrease in hospital admissions, and a 10.9 percent decrease in emergency
room visits—yet the American Association of Medical Colleges estimates a shortage
of up to 55,000 primary care doctors within the next 15 years.
To address this issue, the PCOM Chapter of the American Medical Student Association
(AMSA), along with several other student groups, recently hosted a panel discussion
on the need for more funding and personnel in the primary care fields.
The panelists were Congressman Dwight Evans (D-PA-03), a co-sponsor of the Community
Health Center and Primary Care Workforce Expansion Act of 2019 (HR-1943), which seeks
to provide funding for federally qualified health centers and the National Health
Service Corps; PCOM Board Member A. Scott McNeal, DO ‘88, president and CEO of Delaware
Valley Community Health, Inc., which operates eight federally qualified health centers
in the Philadelphia region; and Alexis Cates, DO, a medical toxicology fellow at Albert
Einstein Medical Center.
Dr. McNeal discussed the breadth of patients his healthcare center sees and the services
each offer. He stressed the need for funding on a more consistent basis. “We need
to make sure the funding for these kind of healthcare centers exists. Not only are
we giving a good quality of healthcare, but we’re doing it for less,” he explained.
Sheeva Norooz (DO ’22), president of the PCOM AMSA chapter, said the idea for the
panel stemmed from AMSA’s participation in Primary Care Week last October.
“We began to discuss the critical role of primary care in our healthcare system, our
osteopathic training as it relates to having a strong foundation in primary care,
and the fact that primary care medicine is often overlooked and underfunded,” she
said. “We decided to invite Rep. Evans as a sponsor of HR1943, as well as working
physicians, to discuss their perspective on these issues and what legislators can
do to help tackle the issue.” She added that Rep. Evans was very passionate about
sharing his views with the students.
Congressman Evans said, “I appreciated the chance to talk with the medical students
and to hear their frontline perspectives on health care. I always say that the most
important title isn’t congressman – its citizen.”
Ms. Norooz said that the panel also provided an opportunity for the medical students
to practice becoming socially responsible physicians. “As future physicians, we have
an obligation to not only be aware of these issues and what is being done about them,
but also to be well-versed in how to discuss these issues with our local legislators,”
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About Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Founded in 1899, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) has trained thousands
of highly competent, caring physicians, health practitioners and behavioral scientists
who practice a “whole person” approach to care—treating people, not just symptoms.
PCOM operates three campuses (PCOM, PCOM Georgia and PCOM South Georgia) and offers doctoral degrees in clinical psychology, educational psychology, osteopathic
medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy and school psychology, and graduate degrees in
applied behavior analysis, applied positive psychology, biomedical sciences, forensic
medicine, medical laboratory science, mental health counseling, non profit leadership
and population health management, organizational development and leadership, physician
assistant studies, school psychology, and public health management and administration.
PCOM students learn the importance of health promotion, research, education and service
to the community. Through its community-based Healthcare Centers, PCOM provides care
to medically underserved populations. For more information, visit pcom.edu or call 215-871-6100.
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