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Legislators stress need to be involved to medical students

Hundreds of aspiring doctors and doctors in Jefferson City for Missouri Osteopathic Medicine Awareness Day

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — More than 200 osteopathic physicians, medical students, advocates, industry leaders, and lawmakers joined forces in Jefferson City on Wednesday for Missouri Osteopathic Medicine Awareness Day.

“We use this day, not only to raise awareness of the profession but to help raise medical student’s awareness of public policy issues and legislative issues that will affect them later in their career,” said Dr. David Tannehill, president-elect of the Missouri Association of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons.  

Participants kicked off the day with an address from current MAOPS President Dr. John Bailey and a legislative panel that included Sen. Ron Richards along with Reps. Bill White, Jim Neely, and Diane Franklin.

The legislators stressed the importance of being involved and advocating for their profession to members of the General Assembly.

“We need more people involved in this legislative process,” Neely told the attendees. That sentiment was echoed through the panel.

“It is important that you guys are involved,” said White. “Be involved.”

One of the medical students asked Brian Bowles, executive director of MAOP, just how much impact they can have and if it even made a difference.

“Maybe not immediately, but over time it does,” Bowles said.

According to Bowles, one visit, one time may not immediately have a huge impact but overtime, several visits certainly will. Lobbyist Jay Hahn told them it “absolutely” has an impact.

Parker Roberts, a first-year medical student, was excited to see how advocacy works and what they can do.

“I’m looking forward to understanding the legislative process,” he said.

Joining the attendees for Missouri Osteopathic Medicine Awareness Day was the first class of students from Kansas City University-Joplin. The program is one of three Osteopathic Medical Schools in Missouri and in its first year of operation.

“It’s going well,” said Dr. John Paulson. “We are really excited, the community has really embraced us.”

When they have encountered what appears to be a challenge, it has opened up opportunities in other places. The community has really welcomed them with open arms, according to Paulson.