Clinical Scholar Alumna Starts Work on New Government Panel Aimed at Helping Medically Underserved Communities

    • October 12, 2010

Lolita McDavid, M.D., an alumna of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Clinical Scholars program, took up official responsibilities in September as a member of a new government committee charged with reviewing and updating criteria used to identify areas of the country facing shortages of health professionals and medical services.

McDavid attended the committee’s first meeting on Sept. 22 through Sept. 24 in Rockville, Md. At the meeting, which was open to the public, members considered the process by which they will update the criteria used to define underserved areas and reviewed key topics they will explore during the coming year.

“It is a great privilege to serve on this committee,” McDavid said. “This is very important work, especially as we’re moving forward into health care reform. It is crucial that we make sure that underserved communities get the kind of care that they deserve.”

McDavid is associate professor of pediatrics at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and Medical Director of the Child Advocacy and Protection Center at the university’s children’s hospital. She is both a past recipient and a reviewer of government health grants, and thus familiar with the designation process for underserved areas.

McDavid was a Clinical Scholar at Yale University from 1982-1984 and has also served as a National Advisory Committee (NAC) member for the Foundation’s Summer Medical and Dental Education program—a free, six-week summer academic program for freshman and sophomore college students interested in careers in medicine or dentistry. The program’s goal is to help increase the competitiveness of college students from disadvantaged backgrounds for application to medical and dental school.

She is also a member of the Alumni Network Roundtable on Health and Health Care, a project of the RWJF Alumni Network in which members gather for a rigorous examination of the complex issues facing the nation’s health care system—and how alumni can use their passion, talent and real-world experience to strengthen the national discussion.

McDavid is One of 28 Members of New Government Rulemaking Committee

The Negotiated Rulemaking Committee on Designation of Medically Underserved Populations and Health Professional Shortage Areas was created by the health reform law enacted earlier this year.

It is composed of 28 health experts who represent community health centers, rural health clinics and health care practitioners, members of special populations with unique health care needs, and technical experts who specialize in research on health care access and statistical methods for measuring it.

The committee is expected to present recommendations to update the methodology used to designate health shortage and medically underserved areas by July of next year.

Programs that receive these designations get extra points in grant application processes because they are serving communities with shortages of physicians or medical services, McDavid said. Federal and state programs rely on these designations to identify areas in need of extra aid. Specifically, the designations enable community health centers that serve medically underserved populations to apply for certain grants and communities with health professional shortages to apply for extra providers from the National Health Service Corps. Physicians also receive bonus payments for working in areas with shortages of health professionals.