The United States is an acknowledged leader in cutting-edge medical technology, and scientific innovations. Despite the nation’s lofty health goals, mainstream health reform efforts have been characterized by skyrocketing health costs, diminished health care quality, and increasing inability of the United States’ health system to equitably serve the nation’s increasingly diverse racial and ethnic population groups. African Americans and other disadvantaged racial, ethnic, and culturally diverse groups continue to demonstrate disproportionately poor health status and outcomes from numerous health indicators including, but not limited to, longevity, infant mortality, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, end-stage renal disease (ESRD), and HIV/AIDS.
From its inception in 1895, the National Medical Association (NMA) has been a leading force for parity in medicine, increasing access to treatment and care for African Americans, and the promotion of optimal health. In 2004, the NMA launched the W. Montague Cobb/NMA Health Institute (Cobb Institute) to examine underlying causes of existing disparities and offer strategies informed by research and policy analysis. The Cobb Institute was named after the late William Montague Cobb M.D., Ph.D., SC.D., a distinguished Physician, Anthropologist, and Professor of Medicine and Anatomy at Howard University. Thus, it is the intention of the Cobb Institute to change the landscape of population through pioneering frameworks and models that will lead to progressive solutions to eliminating health disparities.
The dream of a health institute, which would add breadth and depth to the programs of the National Medical Association, took almost ten years of planning and thoughtful review of various concepts and scenarios prior to the reality of its existence. It is acknowledged that many organizations, commissions, and institutes have the elimination of health disparities as a primary goal. The Cobb Institute feels uniquely positioned to accomplish this goal because it has been the calling card of NMA physicians for over a century.
The Cobb Institute conducts studies and offers recommendations for elimination of health disparities that affect African Americans and other populations of color. W. Montague Cobb was a forceful advocate for racial integration of hospitals and medical schools. As a result of his efforts and those of the NMA to provide national health insurance and coverage for the poor, Medicare and Medicaid legislation was ultimately approved by the United States Congress.
The NMA is the collective voice of African American physicians and the leading force for parity and justice in medicine and the elimination of disparities in health.
The NMA is the largest and oldest national organization representing African American physicians and their patients in the United States. The NMA is a 501(c)(3) national professional and scientific organization representing the interests of more than 50,000 African American physicians and the patients they serve. NMA is committed to improving the quality of health among minorities and disadvantaged people through its membership, professional development, community health education, advocacy, research and partnerships with federal and private agencies. Throughout its history the National Medical Association has focused primarily on health issues related to African Americans and medically underserved populations; however, its principles, goals, initiatives, and philosophy encompass all ethnic groups.
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