Student-doctors at the Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine, alongside President Tracy Farnsworth and Dean Thomas Mohr, connected with Idaho legislators during ‘ICOM Day at the Capitol’ on Monday, March 9.
Organized by ICOM’s chapter of the Student Osteopathic Medical Association (SOMA), the group spoke with local legislators about graduate medical education, health care issues, student projects and more.
“Political activism is a very important part of being a member of SOMA. Whether it be nationally or locally, it is important to know how our governments function, so that we can advocate for policies that will affect us as future osteopathic physicians,” said Samuel Loescher, OMS-II. “In this case, the purpose of going to the Capitol was to give students the opportunity to see how the Idaho state government functions, which was a complete success. Even though we didn’t lobby for policies, we were able to show legislators the faces of the future physicians of Idaho.”
After mingling with legislators on the first floor of the rotunda, the group had the opportunity to visit the Senate and House Galleries — where they were recognized by each legislative body — followed by a tour of the statehouse. The group capped off the day with a visit to the Governor’s Ceremonial Office, where they had the opportunity to speak with Governor Brad Little.
“It is extremely important for our student doctors to see how state and federal legislation affects their ability to care for patients and promote healthy communities. Physicians and legislators need to work together to ensure the safety of our patients while protecting the doctor-patient relationship,” said Dr. Thomas J. Mohr, ICOM Dean and Chief Academic Officer. “It is helpful to keep an open dialogue with lawmakers so they better understand the process of medical education and the practice of medicine. We are especially thankful that Governor Little and the Idaho legislature have been supportive of ICOM and expanded funding for graduate medical education. Our student doctors had the opportunity to share the story of ICOM and thank our legislators for their support, while taking the time to listen and learn in the hallways, rotunda, and offices of the Statehouse and on the floor of the Idaho House and Senate. This was a great day for the ICOM family!”