National Medical Association Names Kweisi Mfume as Its New Executive Leader

Friday, March 26, 2010 Press Release
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Civil Rights Leader to Tackle Health Disparities and Promote Health Policy Priorities


25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Former U.S. Congressman Kweisi Mfume will take the helm of the nation's oldest and largest medical association representing the interests of more than 30,000 physicians of African descent
and their patients, effective March 29, 2010.

A seasoned elected official and prominent civil rights advocate, Mr. Mfume will bring his considerable experience working across organizations to help further the mission of the NMA.  Most recently, Mr. Mfume spent nine years leading the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). While serving as its President & CEO, he gained an in-depth understanding of health disparities in the nation's health care delivery system and the devastating effects such disparities have on the lives of American families. Mfume went on to establish the organization's first National Office of Health Advocacy to educate and advocate on behalf of access and affordability in health care.  Prior to his tenure there, he served as a five-term Congressman from Maryland's 7th Congressional District, where he chaired the Joint Economic Committee, the Congressional Black Caucus, and co-founded the Congressional Task Force on Sarcoidosis Disease Awareness. Mr. Mfume also served on the Baltimore City Council for seven years, where he chaired the Committee on Health.

"I have dedicated my life to ending the economic and social barriers that continue to confront people of color all across our nation," Mr. Mfume said. "The National Medical Association has been the conscience of the medical profession by making sure that African Americans and the underserved have a voice in their health and health care."  He continued, "We have a long way to go to truly eliminate health disparities, but now is the time to work with political, medical, and community leaders to make that vision real."

NMA President Willarda V. Edwards, M.D., M.B.A. said, "With such an intense national focus on health policy, Kweisi Mfume brings significant expertise to our organization that will directly benefit our members as they navigate the ever-changing landscape of health care."

Wilma J. Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., Chair, NMA Board of Trustees, further commented, "His commitment to the most vulnerable in our communities makes him a natural fit to continue the NMA's legacy of advocacy and service."

"It is vital that NMA has a strong visionary at the helm of our organization," Rahn Bailey, M.D., Speaker, NMA House of Delegates, stated. "We looked for someone with a proven background in mission-driven work and a seasoned background in health policy and believe that Mr. Mfume holds that elusive combination."

A native of Baltimore, Mr. Mfume received his B.S. from Morgan State University and his Master's degree from Johns Hopkins University. He has also been bestowed with honorary doctorates from some 10 colleges and universities as diverse as Meharry Medical College and Brandeis University.  Mr. Mfume is a frequent lecturer and serves on the Boards of several organizations, including the Boy Scouts of America National Advisory Council, Johns Hopkins University Board of Trustees, Morgan State University Board of Regents and Big Brothers and Big Sisters. Mfume is a member of the Continuity of Government Commission funded by the Carnegie, Hewlett Packard, and MacArthur foundations.  For 4 years, he hosted the nationally syndicated NBC - Hearst TV special "The Remarkable Journey." He is the recipient of the NAACP Image Award and the 2005 Telly Award for the Television documentary "Ticket to Freedom." His former bestselling autobiography is entitled "No Free Ride."

Founded in 1895, the National Medical Association is a national professional and scientific organization committed to improving the quality of health among minorities and disadvantaged people through its membership, professional development, community health education, advocacy, research and partnership with federal and private agencies.  The NMA has repeatedly advocated for policies that would assure equitable and quality health care for all people.

SOURCE National Medical Association


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