The Need for NMF
Our primary goal is to achieve equity of opportunity in medicine and equity of access to quality healthcare for all groups in American society by increasing the number of minority physicians and changing the face of medicine to better reflect and serve our diverse nation.
Today the elimination of health disparities between minority and non-minority populations, between high and low income Americans, is an important policy goal of our nation as well as a moral imperative.
NMF believes – and experts agree – that a very effective way to eliminate health care disparities is to increase the number of physicians from diverse backgrounds who can provide culturally competent care to medically underserved communities.
NMF programs provide critical financial support to medical students from groups underrepresented in medicine. This support makes a difference: evidence shows that minority physicians are more likely than others to practice in impoverished and minority communities, and to serve as advocates for minority health in both the public and private sectors. Today nearly 30,000 minority physicians are NMF Alumni—that is, they received support from NMF early in their careers. Among these NMF alumni are practicing physicians, researchers, educators, policy makers, philanthropy leaders and healthcare administrators—many of them leaders in US efforts to promote excellence in healthcare.
The goal is to ensure that every American has a physician (or other healthcare professionals) who speaks his or her language, understands the family culture, and is willing to practice in the heart of the community. And more than that: physicians from underserved communities must have opportunities to train for and assume leadership roles not only in clinical care, but also in public policy, health services research, and biomedical research. What too often stands in the way of our achieving these goals is the high cost of medical education, which is a huge barrier to students from minority and low-income backgrounds.