The GE Foundation announced today a $2.3 million grant to National Medical Fellowships (NMF) for the creation of the GE-NMF Primary Care Leadership Program (PCLP), providing future healthcare professionals the opportunity to experience primary care practice in community health centers across the US. NMF is a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing minority representation in medicine and the health professions.
The two-year grant from the GE Foundation aims to draw future health professionals into primary care while building the capacity of community health centers. The partnership with NMF builds on GE’s $50 million commitment to increase access to healthcare through its Developing HealthTM initiative -- currently in 74 community health centers in 20 US cities.
“With an alarming shortage of primary care professionals anticipated in the years to come, PCLP enlists talented and motivated students to be part of the solution. We hope to ignite these students’ passion for a future career in medically underserved communities,” said Bob Corcoran, Vice President, GE Corporate Citizenship, and President and Chair, GE Foundation.
This week 38 PCLP scholars currently enrolled in medical, nursing and physician assistant programs across the country are being assigned to community health centers located in primary care shortage areas in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Nashville and Jackson, MS. Participants will complete 200 service learning hours that includes a leadership development component, mentorship from academic institutions and program advisors, and networking opportunities with NMF alumni.
“These selective scholars will undergo intense exposure to the challenges facing community health centers: newly eligible populations, transitioning to electronic medical records, and a shortage of primary healthcare providers. At this early stage of their careers, this hands-on experience will provide them with clinical skills and help them recognize their potential to make a significant and positive impact on hundreds, if not thousands of lives,” said Esther R. Dyer, President & CEO, NMF.
Scholars were accepted into the PCLP program after being ranked by a faculty and regional advisory board and NMF’s National Advisory Committee based on their personal statements, academic achievements, leadership potential, and recommendations.
Dr. H. Jack Geiger, a NMF Board member and a leader of the community health movement of more than 50 years said,“Community health centers serve populations that are forgotten and left behind by other healthcare providers. These students will receive a unique experience not afforded to their peers. They will have the chance to dramatically change the lives of those in the local community by changing the way care is organized and delivered to patients.”
While this is the GE Foundation’s first US-focused grant to NMF, there is an established relationship between the two. Since 2005, the GE Foundation has collaborated with NMF on the GE-NMF International Medical Scholars Program that enables 4th year minority medical students to experience practicing medicine in Africa with a focus on critical regional health care needs.
National Medical Fellowships, Inc. (NMF) was established in Chicago in 1946 to address the racial barriers that prevented minorities, particularly African Americans, from attending medical school. During the 1940’s and 1950’s, the challenge was to address financial obstacles; and over the following decades, as broad social changes swept America, NMF grew in scope by disseminating grants and awards on a national basis. As of 2011, $40 million in scholarship support has been provided to 30,000 students. NMF remains the only nonprofit solely dedicated to changing the face of medicine and increasing the number of health professionals who can provide culturally and linguistically appropriate quality healthcare. NMF (nmfonline.org) has three major programs: need‐based scholarships for first and second year students; experience opportunities for more senior students, and information for the public and thought‐leaders about the critical importance that minority physicians play on improving access to healthcare services for all.
About GE Foundation
GE Foundation (gefoundation.com) works to solve some of the world’s most difficult problems. In coordination with its partners, it supports U.S. and international education, developing health globally, the environment, public policy, human rights and disaster relief. In addition, GE Foundation supports GE employee and retiree giving and involvement in GE communities around the world. In 2011, the entire GE family — including businesses, employees, retirees and GE Foundation — contributed more than an estimated $250 million to community and educational programs, including more than $100 million from GE Foundation.