Novelist and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott is furthering her mission of supporting organizations and institutions at the forefront of social change. One of the latest nonprofits to receive a generous gift from the billionaire is the National Medical Fellowships, Essence reported.
Founded in 1946, the organization provides scholarships for BIPOC medical students in an effort to increase diversity across different health professions. Its mission is rooted in ensuring cultural competency is embedded within the medical field to advance health care equity within underserved communities.
The organization said in a statement that the fund allocation will be decided on by the board of directors, the CEO and the president.
Scott provided the organization with a $12 million endowment to eradicate hefty medical school expenses for diverse students. According to data cited by National Medical Fellowships, the average medical student debt was $215,900 in 2021 and can easily exceed $300,000 not including other student debt. Scott’s donation could help alleviate the debt burden on Black and other future medical professionals of color.
National Medical Fellowships’ President and CEO Michellene Davis, Esq. says the gift will be instrumental in eliminating healthcare inequities that impact communities of color. She added it will also help nurture a new generation of leaders who will innovatively shape the landscape of medicine.
“NMF will use this unrestricted gift to build its endowment and accelerate our work to invest in the development of BIPOC health care leaders who are laser-focused on eliminating unnecessary and preventable health disparities experienced by communities of color,” Davis said. “This gift is particularly timely as the COVID-19 pandemic takes a disproportionate toll on communities of color and shines a spotlight on the human cost of health inequity.”
Sandra B. Nichols, MD, FAAFP, MHCDS, MS, the organization’s Board of Directors Chair expressed her deep gratitude for the donation and the work it will help support.
“This gift sends a message to these students who are interested in pursuing a career in health care,” Nichols said. “It tells them they are needed, welcomed, and will be supported as they work to attain their degrees so they may transform the health care system into one that serves all communities equally.”
The transformative work being led by the National Medical Fellowships is needed as research shows African American students are disproportionately impacted by medical school debt.
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