Disrupting Racism in Medicine to Achieve Lasting Health Equity

Equity-minded health professionals from the very communities that endure the highest levels of health inequity in this nation are needed more than ever to address mistrust in health care. For over 75 years, National Medical Fellowships (NMF) has been providing scholarships to Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) medical students. In recent years, it has extended its support to scholars seeking to serve in other critical roles in the health care workforce.  

As NMF works to expand access to education in the health care professions, it is elevating its efforts to strengthen partnerships and increase a sense of belonging for BIPOC students by enhancing financial, communal, and emotional support. NMF also offers resources for health care practitioners and works to prepare more BIPOC researchers to lead clinical research — an emerging focus to ensure that diverse participants are recruited and clinical research findings benefit all populations.  

Our Strategy

National Medical Fellowships is pleased to present its ambitious strategy to disrupt racism in medicine to achieve lasting health equity.

Full Strategy (16 pages)

NMF's Approach

Since its founding, NMF has been providing scholarships to BIPOC students aspiring to be health care providers across areas of practice. Over time, NMF has extended support not only to medical students but also to students seeking to serve in other critical roles in the health care workforce.

Today, NMF works to expand access to education in health care professions, strengthen partnerships with institutions providing this education, and increase a sense of belonging for BIPOC students by enhancing its financial, communal, and emotional support. NMF also offers resources for physicians and other providers already working in health care and seeks to diversify clinical research.

To ensure that clinical research findings benefit all populations, NMF works to increase the number of BIPOC researchers leading clinical investigations and diversify participants in clinical research. In these ways, NMF unabashedly disrupts the systems and structures that erect barriers to talented and committed BIPOC students and providers underrepresented in health care who possess a desire to aid communities made vulnerable by historic disinvestment and inequity.

NMF is doubling down on its historic mission to provide scholarships and support to students underrepresented in medicine. We believe nothing should stand in the way of aspiring BIPOC clinical leaders in their quest to achieve health equity. To advance this core commitment, NMF is proud to share seven pillars of its strategic framework, all of which support its foundational mission of providing scholarships and support to students underrepresented in medicine.

PILLAR 1: Build an Endowment to Expand Scholarships and Secure a Sustainable Future

Through an enhanced fundraising program, NMF will build an endowment of $25 million to function as a reliable source of income for its work in perpetuity and dramatically increase the size and number of scholarships offered annually.

PILLAR 2: Advance Thought Leadership

NMF will embrace its 75-year legacy of advancing health equity and rise to its rightful position of influence by engaging in, contributing to, and leading the national conversation to end the systemic and structural racism that drives health inequity for communities of color.

PILLAR 3: Engage in Impactful Policy Partnerships

To disrupt the proliferation of racial disparities in health care, NMF will develop an expansive coalition of partners to advance programs and policies in the private and public sectors, within organizations and industries, and at the local, state, and national levels. 

PILLAR 4: Diversify Clinical Research

NMF will provide an onramp for physicians and students underrepresented in medicine to become clinical investigators and lead community-oriented research. Through innovative programs that offer clinical research career pathways, professional development, and mentoring, NMF will diversify the investigators and participants in clinical research. Such change will ensure resulting therapeutics and disease prevention efforts have greater efficacy across all populations.

PILLAR 5: Launch a Robust Mentorship Network

NMF will build a formal mentorship program to make it easier for alumni and students to connect, receive support, and learn from each other. Mentorship and networking bolster career advancement and professional resiliency, which are especially important for those underrepresented in medicine.

PILLAR 6: Expand Focus on Behavioral Health and Wellbeing

To address exponentially growing demand within BIPOC communities for behavioral health care access, NMF will work to enhance the pathway of BIPOC behavioral health specialists. This will ensure that trauma-informed care — delivered by professionals who share common experiences and have the cultural sensitivity to guide patients through the journey of healing — is more readily available to communities subjected to ongoing racial trauma. NMF also will deliver racial trauma-informed supports to its scholars and alumni who endure the individual, structural, and systemic racism endemic to society and prevalent in medicine today.

PILLAR 7: Develop a Strong and Comprehensive Student Pathway

NMF will play a leading role in rapidly expanding the pathway of secondary and college students who seek health care as a career path, responding to the predicted physician shortage that will come in just a decade and the present-day crisis of underrepresented BIPOC individuals in medicine. NMF seeks to prevent a further shortfall of diverse health care professionals — as underrepresentation most acutely impacts BIPOC communities who need access to culturally competent health care.

Advancing Lasting Change

NMF’s agenda is bold and daring. We are resolute in our commitment to bringing a new day in health care to this nation by dismantling centuries of structural and systemic racism woven into medicine, behavioral health care, and medical education. We are energized in our ongoing quest to expand scholarships and resources for our extraordinary scholars of medicine. We are determined to stand for the advancement of health equity, the diversification of the health care workforce, and the achievement of racial and social justice in medicine for communities made vulnerable. We invite you to join us.

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