USDE appoints DMU’s Sue Huppert to Distance Learning and Educational Innovation Subcommittee

The U.S. Department of Education (USDE) appointed Sue Huppert, chief of external and government affairs for Des Moines University, to serve as a negotiator on the department’s newly established negotiated rulemaking subcommittee on distance learning and educational innovation. The Distance Learning and Educational Innovation Subcommittee is one of three subcommittees making recommendations to the USDE’s Accreditation and Innovation Committee, which will address the USDE’s recognition of accrediting agencies and related institutional eligibility issues and will begin its work next week.

Sue was nominated for the subcommittee by the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM), DMU President Angela Walker Franklin, Ph.D., U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley and Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds. She directs DMU’s legislative and strategic policy as a member of the institution’s senior leadership. Her expertise in distance learning and state authorization, particularly from a health professions education perspective, will be critical as the subcommittee evaluates these complex issues.

Students who are sent out-of-state to complete their core clinical rotations regularly receive remote instruction from their medical school. However, the state authorization distance education regulation, as finalized in 2016, does not provide the necessary clarification regarding how the USDE will treat core clinical rotations under the regulation.

“I look forward to applying my depth of experience toward helping craft regulatory policies that best serve graduate students and consider factors unique to medical education and training. I am honored to assist the USDE in addressing this multifaceted issue,” Sue says.

She continues to serve as a member and advisor of AACOM’s COM-Government Relations group, which consists of government relations professionals that represent the nation’s osteopathic medical schools.

“With her extensive experience and high engagement in regulations and compliance issues at the national, regional, and state levels surrounding state authorization and distance learning, I am confident that Ms. Huppert’s guidance and insight will be invaluable as the USDE seeks to review distance learning and educational innovation regulations,” says Stephen C. Shannon, D.O., M.P.H., AACOM president and CEO. “We are pleased that the USDE has established this subcommittee and look forward to continuing our work with the department to ensure federal policies support the unique needs and characteristics of our nation’s medical education system.”

AACOM previously submitted comments to the USDE when it announced its intent to form a negotiated rulemaking committee, strongly recommending that the USDE create multiple committees, specifically a separate committee on state authorization regulations, to effectively evaluate the complicated regulatory issues proposed.

AACOM represents the 35 accredited colleges of osteopathic medicine in the United States. These colleges are accredited to deliver instruction at 55 teaching locations in 32 states. In the current academic year, these colleges are educating more than 30,000 future physicians—25 percent of all U.S. medical students. Six of the colleges are public and 29 are private institutions.

AACOM was founded in 1898 to support and assist the nation’s osteopathic medical schools, and to serve as a unifying voice for osteopathic medical education. AACOM’s mission is to promote excellence in osteopathic medical education, in research and in service, and to foster innovation and quality among osteopathic medical colleges to improve the health of the American public.