I am writing today to remind everyone that, even in 2016, when over 28% of American medical students are in osteopathic schools, when DOs are represented in every field of practice (including the medical director heart-lung transplantation at the Cleveland Clinic) and when osteopathic medicine is the fastest growing medical profession, we still face significant threats.
Recently, a judge in Harris County, Texas, refused to accept the signatures of osteopathic physicians for psychiatric commitment orders because he interpreted the term “physician” to be a medical doctor holding an MD degree. This was reversed only after vigorous intervention from the AOA, Texas Osteopathic Medical Association and State Attorney General. (More on this at: http://thedo.osteopathic.org/2016/10/aoa-toma-defend-osteopathic-care-for-texas-psychiatric-patients/) Here in New Mexico, there is legislation that defines a “medical student” as only a student at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine. This legislation was proposed and enacted just after BCOM incorporated.
We are constantly monitoring events at the state and federal level and have professionals representing us full-time in Santa Fe. Obviously, it is important for our voice to be heard and this can be costly. For that reason, there is a New Mexico Osteopathic Political Action Committee (NMOPAC) that funds these endeavors. It is very important for everyone here, faculty, staff, and companeros to contribute to NMOPAC. Any contribution is important. The dollar amount is not as important as the percentage of people contributing. For example, when the Governor is considering consolidation the osteopathic licensing board into the allopathic licensing board, rather than simply throw money at her, it is more forceful to say that 100% of the students, faculty and staff at BCOM have contributed to the PAC and these constituents (voters) do not support the initiative.
Thus far, the percentage of people contributing has been lackluster. I am challenging everyone to help me make our voice heard. It is not required, but expected, that all BCOM employees will contribute. I think our companeros should indicate to the state and federal government that they are engaged int eh political process and not be ignored. If 100% contribute, that is a strong message. Any amount helps and is important. A Starbucks coffee costs about $5. How about skipping that coffee one time and reminding the legislature there are now two medical schools in New Mexico?
To contribute, an online and paper form can be found at: http://nmoma.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=75
We need your support today.
George Mychaskiw II, DO, FAAP, FACOP
Founding Dean and Chief Academic Officer