Leveraging Diversity in American Academic Medicine

The Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation created the Minority Medical Faculty Development Program (renamed the Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program) to nurture physician-scientists from minority backgrounds toward careers as medical school faculty. Advising and mentorship are key to the program’s success.

The Issue:

With the goal of improving the number and quality of minority health care professionals, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) created the Minority Medical Faculty Development Program in 1983 (renamed the Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program, or AMFDP) to nurture and mentor physician-scientists from minority backgrounds toward careers as medical school faculty. AMFDP makes four-year grants to academic institutions on behalf of individual scholars.

Key Findings

  • Evidence of the program’s success: As of December 2013, over 80 percent of the program’s 256 living alumni remained in academic medicine.

  • Advising, mentorship and attention to the mechanics of building of academic career drive the program’s success. This includes attention to issues unique to minority physician-scholars: often, minority participation on committees or in other areas beyond their own work is desirable or even mandated, and AMFDP provides valuable mentoring to help scholars determine which responsibilities will further their own careers.

Conclusion:

RWJF has found that AMFDP alumni are its best recruiters; even applicants not selected to participate in the program benefit from the program’s application process; that the community of current scholars and program alumni drives scholars’ career growth, and that NAC mentors’ commitment is key to scholars’ success.