NMA Celebrates 20th National Colloquium
Friday, April 5, 2019
NMA Celebrates 20th National Colloquium on African American Inspired Collective Works, Professionalism and Achieving Health Equity
For the 20th year, NMA convened for its annual Colloquium and Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill, at the Mayflower Hotel, Autograph Collection, March 29 – April 1, 2019.
This year’s Colloquium was well received and attended by a variety of professionals; both healthcare related and non-healthcare. Because of the vision of current NMA President, Dr. Niva Lubin Johnson, African American professionals from all sectors were brought together to collaborate about real policy change to improve health equity and the social determinants of health for African Americans. Attendees were inspired by the speakers and the timeliness and relevance of the topics. The Colloquium covered Maternal Morbidity; Childhood Sex Trafficking; Environmental Health; and a panel on criminal justice, which included representatives of the legal profession, law enforcement, and psychologists - all of which affect the health and well-being of African Americans. They addressed the current legislative battles concerning access to healthcare in preparation for the Monday Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill.
An important one-on-one with NMA President, Dr. Niva Lubin Johnson and Planned Parenthood Federation of America President, Leana Wen, M.D., keeping Access and Achieving Health Equity: The Importance of Planned Parenthood helped undergird the importance of Planned Parenthood in underserved urban and rural areas of the country. Planned Parenthood is the only accessible health provider for many preventative health screenings, sexual disease treatment and reproductive health options for these communities. The current assault on Title X funding of Planned Parenthood by this current administration would render countless numbers of persons of color and the poor without access to these life-saving screenings and treatments. Dr. Wen also shared the story of her family’s need to flee political persecution in China by immigrating to America and how long and difficult the “path to citizenship” really is in America.
Keynote speaker, April Ryan, White House correspondent and Washington, DC bureau chief of American Urban Radio Networks energized the room, reminding attendees that they are the people to form a more perfect union. It is up to them to hold their legislators accountable to represent their voices on Capitol Hill.
The Colloquium concluded with a visit to Capitol Hill on Monday, April 1, 2019 to the Congresspersons and Senators in the states of Colloquium attendees to discuss the issues near and dear to them. One issue being their support of HR 1897, the Mothers and Offspring Mortality and Morbidity Awareness (MOMMA) Act to raise awareness of the high maternal morbidity rates in the African American community. They also stood in support of Congresswoman Robin Kelly’s fight to expand access to lower cost generic drugs and to uphold the protected classes with regards to access to life-saving cancer, heart and HIV medications for Medicare recipients. With the crisis in the rising cost of insulin, the physicians also advocated for support of Congressman Bobby Rush’s bill HR 366, Insulin Access for All Act of 2019, which eliminates cost sharing for those who are receiving Medicare and Medicaid benefits.
Daniel Dawes, J.D., executive director, Government Affairs and Health Policy at Morehouse School of Medicine was awarded the Louis Stokes Health Advocacy Award for his outstanding advocacy work on behalf of African Americans. Mark Mitchell, M.D., MPH, associate professor, Health & Climate Solutions Hub, Center for Climate Change Communication of George Mason University in Fairfax, VA received the James M. Whittico, Jr., M.D. Community Advocate Award for his work in the community. He is also the Chair of the NMA Council on Medical Legislation and Co-Chair of its’ Environmental Health Task Force. #trustblackdoctors
The National Medical Association is the collective voice of African American physicians and the leading force for parity and justice in medicine. The NMA is the oldest organization of African American professionals in America representing the over 50,000 African American physicians and the patients we serve in the United states and its territories.