“There are things you can put into place to increase the probability that people are going to succeed. Results of the Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program give us hope.”—Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MBA, RWJF President and CEO
Dates of Project: Ongoing since 1983
Field of Work: Diversifying academic medicine
“We would like to see these individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds becoming full professors.”—David Krol, MD, MPH, RWJF Senior Program Officer
Problem Synopsis: Racial and ethnic minorities have long been underrepresented in the medical and dental professions, and this lack of diversity has an impact on the care that underserved populations receive.
Minority professors can be important role models, and increasing their number on medical and dental school faculties can help stimulate greater interest among minority students in the health care professions.
Synopsis: The Amos program awards four-year post-residency grants to support the research and career development of physicians and dentists from minority and other historically disadvantaged backgrounds who are committed to pursuing an academic career and serving as role models for students of similar backgrounds.
Along with providing funding, the program emphasizes mentoring. Each program scholar has a designated mentor—usually a senior faculty member at his or her institution. In addition, a national advisory committee of highly respected scientists selects the scholars, monitors their progress, and helps guide their research and career decisions.
Over the past 30 years, 241 scholars had completed all four years of the program (as of 2012). More than three-quarters remained in academic medicine, including 57 professors, 76 associate professors, and 56 assistant professors.
Many program alumni have earned professional honors and become influential leaders in the health care field. For example, three direct institutes at the National Institutes of Health, and 10 have been elected to the Institute of Medicine.
Alumni have received hundreds of awards and honors, including a MacArthur Fellowship “genius” award.
Alumni have reached positions of influence in academia that enable them to help correct the underrepresentation of minorities in the health professions and address health disparities. Former scholars are:
- Members of admission, intern, and faculty selection committees
- On review boards for clinical protocols and research studies
- Officers of professional societies and on editorial boards of academic journals
That’s the thing that stands out to me—the importance of mentorship, the way it’s taken seriously in this program.”—David Krol, MD, MPH, RWJF Senior Program Officer
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While the need to address disparities in care is well known, few strategies for reducing disparities have been studied systematically.
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