The National Medical Association (NMA)’s Annual Convention and Scientific Assembly is acclaimed as the nation’s foremost forum on medical science and African American health. Each year, African American physicians and other health professionals from across the country convene to participate in the scholarly exchange of medical advances, discuss health policy priorities, and to share experience through networking opportunities. Through NMA’s 26 Scientific Specialty Sections and Interest Groups, the Convention attracts the broadest spectrum of African American physicians, academicians and scientists in the country. The program opens on a Saturday July 30th with special sessions and workshops, and continues through the Wednesday August 3rd.

Letter from the NMA President

Dear Colleagues,

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the National Medical Association’s 114th Annual Convention and Scientific Assembly. At this five-day conference, population health experts will address many of the pressing issues facing health care providers, patients and our community. During my tenure as President, I have attempted to lead the membership on a course, enhanced by my experience as a clinician, military leader, and academic administrator toward True North – health care equity for all citizens of the United States, irrespective of socioeconomic status, gender, racial or ethnic background, nor choice of social identity. As such I have selected True North Toward Health Care Equity as the theme for this year’s conference. The term True North is a military term defined as the direction from an observer’s position to the geographic North Pole. The term True North has been applied to business strategies by many companies and other organizations as current marketplace reality dynamics constitute a continuously moving target. It is well recognized that a tough challenge exists to determine how best to position resources to be in the right place at the right time to optimize growth and plan maximal development.

Similarly, the NMA has planned operational processes that will allow identification of barriers that produce and lead to elimination of disparities with subsequent development of solutions that will allow for healthcare equity for minority and underserved populations in this country, thus True North. Many disparities have been described as contributing factors that impact heath care outcomes, including poor access to healthcare, poverty, exposure to environmental contaminants, lower and inadequate levels of education, individual and behavioral factors, and quality of preventive and treatment care. Reducing racial and ethnic health care disparities with a focus on equity is essential for improving health care outcomes with potentially added benefit of lowering overall health care spending costs. This is necessary to establish an enduring stage that future generations of medical professionals can look back and appreciate the pioneering aspects of health care delivery that were developed in this era.

We look forward to seeing you July 30th – August 3rd in Los Angeles for the 114th Annual Convention and Scientific Assembly.

Edith P. Mitchell, M.D.