While completing his fourth year of medical school and clinical rotations at BCOM, Harris Ahmed will also spend eight weeks interning on Capitol Hill. He was selected to participate in the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine’s (AACOM) 2020 Osteopathic Health Policy Intern (OHPI) Program. In a letter to Ahmed and BCOM Dean Don N. Peska, DO, AACOM’s Interim of Vice President of Government and Public Relations Mary-Lynn Bender wrote, “Your credentials, letters of support, and brief policy paper greatly impressed the reviewers. AACOM looks forward to hosting you.”
Ahmed first heard about the OHPI program while in graduate school, just after he received his acceptance to medical school. During his years at BCOM, he has been active in legislation and policy, particularly for the Student Osteopathic Medical Association (SOMA). He currently serves on SOMA’s national board of trustees as national vice president and speaker of the house.
“My policy proposal for the OHPI program was about utilizing the concept of loan forgiveness for service as a means to alleviate health care disparities and the maldistribution of physicians across the United States,” he explained. “For example supporting programs such as Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) is important. Equally important is opposing legislation that cuts or negatively affects programs such as PSLF.”
During his two months working on Capitol Hill as a representative of AACOM, Ahmed will attend hearings and briefings pertaining to federal health care and higher education policy, as well as attend meetings at federal agencies such as the U.S. Department of Education, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. He is also expected to conduct research and increase understanding of federal health care and higher education policy topics that impact osteopathic medical education and present on an advocacy topic determined by AACOM Government Relations.
Ahmed said, “I am hoping to use my training and experience to help alleviate health care disparities that affect underserved communities. I aim to accomplish this through this internship, specifically through policy writing and advocacy. I am also looking forward to gaining additional experience overall on Capitol Hill.”