The National Medical Association (NMA) is the largest and oldest national organization representing African-American physicians and their patients in the United States. The NMA is a nonprofit professional and scientific organization representing the interests of more than 30,000 African-American physicians and the patients they serve, with nearly 112 affiliated societies throughout the nation and U.S. territories. The NMA is committed to improving the quality of health among minorities and disadvantaged people through health education, advocacy, membership, professional development, research and partnerships with federal and private agencies.
Eliminating health disparities and reaching health care equity are central to the National Medical Association’s mission, vision and strategic initiatives with education and advocacy by our physician members as pillars. The overall goal of the NMA activities promotes advancing the art and science of medicine for people of African descent through education, advocacy, and health policy to promote health and wellness, eliminate health disparities, and sustain physician viability , explained Edith Peterson Mitchell, M.D., the 116th president of the NMA.
Addressing chronic conditions that disproportionately impact minority populations is a critical area of advocacy for the NMA. NMA is working alongside public and private partners to raise awareness around cancer, diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and infectious diseases and other chronic medical conditions for which African American suffer disproportionately inferior outcomes. A recent HIV/AIDS Consensus Panel with the W. Montague Cobb Institute, the NMA research arm, initiated a large area of focus. In 2016, the NMA Sickle Cell Center for Medical Excellence will launch, expanding the organization’s disparities effort.
A new and important area of focus is addressing the health impacts of climate change on chronic conditions. Buoyed by research and a leading survey of its members, the NMA believes that climate change is one of the major public health challenges of our time. Climate change impacts people living in vulnerable communities, specifically those who suffer from asthma, allergies and other chronic medical conditions. The NMA actively supports President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which addresses air quality.
The NMA conducts research through its affiliate research arm, the NMA/Cobb Institute and publishes the Journal of Racial and Ethnic Disparities and the Journal of the National Medical Association (JNMA), the leading journals on health equity.
The NMA continues to promote increasing access to medical care, clinical trials, telemedicine, and Medicaid expansion. Historically, NMA was the key ally in securing the passage Medicare and recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of its passage.
The organization’s affiliated medical societies hold monthly or quarterly state and local society meetings. Additionally, it has as well as annual meetings for each region, and an annual convention. The 114th Annual Convention & Scientific Assembly will be held in Los Angeles, July 30-August 3, 2016.
“The respective missions of National Medical Association and Research!America overlap as both focus on improving health and similarly work through advocacy and partnerships with government, academia, private industry, patients and other health care stake holders,” shared Dr. Mitchell.