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The Student Doctors Go to Washington

Three BCOM students joined BCOM Dean George Mychaskiw II, DO, and Scott Cyrus, DO, in Washington DC for “DO Day on the Hill” in April. Read on to hear more about the experience in their own words.

Harris Ahmed and Dean Mychaskiw talking to NM state representatives and their staffers about THCGME.

“DO Day on the Hill was a unique and illuminating experience that allowed the BCOM team and myself to truly be a part of passing legislation that will affect us as future residents/physicians. The BCOM team, along with around 5,000 students from all around the U.S., joined forces to convince our state representatives to support re-authorization of the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education (THCGME) program. THCGME trains primary care physicians in rural and community-based clinics, including mental health and tribal clinics. One of the most memorable parts of this experience was the march to the hill, about a mile from where we all convened in the morning. Five thousand DO students and physicians, all in white coats, marching together to the Capitol undeniably made a profound statement. As a new school, BCOM was able to make a statement at DO Day and become acquainted with students and professors from other osteopathic institutions throughout the country. I am eager to participate in next years DO Day and look forward to seeing more students from BCOM there as well.” —Aryana Zakikhani

“DO Day on the Hill was a very fun and inspiring experience. I got to meet and network with countless medical students, faculty, and advocates during the day as well as contribute to a noble cause. This year our focus was protecting funding for THCGME. These programs focus heavily on primary care, and do so especially in rural and/or underserved settings. We met with our state representatives and their staff to discuss THCGME, funding, why it was important to us, and why it was beneficial to the nation to continue supporting THCGME.” —Harris Ahmed

Harris Ahmed and John Rajala in Washington DC.

“The experience was pretty incredible. There were hundreds of osteopathic medical students from all around the country. It was amazing to see everyone there as a group with a common goal of discussing continued funding for rural residency programs. These programs provide residency opportunities for students, and they’re located in underserved communities. It’s a win-win. Medical students face huge challenges when it comes to finding residency opportunities, and this country has thousands of patients who desperately need medical care. Nowhere is this more evident than in New Mexico. Given BCOM’s mission to improve healthcare in the Southwest, lobbying on this issue was a no-brainer.” –John Rajala