ANMA celebrating 75 years of service to African-American community
The Auxiliary to the National Medical Association (ANMA) is celebrating its 75th year of service to the African-American community by continuing many of its health, education and legislative efforts.
"I have had the pleasure of leading a group of dynamic individuals with a common purpose — to improve the state of health and health care in the communities we serve," said Michele S. Gandy, ANMA president. "By focusing on six programmatic thrusts, we implemented successful initiatives in: diabetes; exercise; nutrition and heart disease; HIV/AIDS; cancer — specifically breast and prostate; and childhood obesity."
The celebration of ANMA's 75th anniversary started during the 2010 convention with a reception to raise funds for its initiatives and educate reception attendees about the threat of childhood obesity.
ANMA's theme for this year's convention is "Leading a Collaborative Effort in Health, Wellness and Prevention." To support that theme, the group has established new relationships and strengthened existing relationships with organizations and institutions whose mission parallels that of the ANMA, Gandy said. With this support, the ANMA:
- Provides regional programs throughout the year on disease prevention
- Sponsors the National African-American Youth Initiative Scholars Program (NAAYI), an 11-day residential program designed to increase the pool of African-Americans in careers related to health care
- Established Project Sun, a prevention-based, lifestyle choices and goal-setting program for African-American elementary school students
- Funds the Alma Wells Givens Scholarship presented annually to worthy students at Howard University College of Medicine, Meharry Medical College, Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science, and Morehouse School of Medicine
- Awards the Omega Mason/Maude Bisson Scholarships annually to two nursing students
- Awards Jesse B. Barber, Jr., M.D., scholarships to medical students at Howard University College of Medicine, Meharry Medical College, Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science and Morehouse School of Medicine
The ANMA plans to continue its major goal of working to reduce health care disparities among people of color, but it also is working to develop a signature program to address childhood obesity.
"Our goals always align with the health concerns of the nation as a whole," Gandy said. "Educating the community in the areas of health, wellness and prevention is extremely vital for our citizens to lead healthier, more productive and longer lives."
Other challenges for the ANMA include an increase in the number of people who need its services because of the economic downturn and overcoming the perception of the group's role, she said.
"Often, it is challenging to reach the population that needs us the most. That is the reason collaborations are important," Gandy said. "Lastly, the ANMA must overcome the misconception that we are just an organization of physicians' spouses. We provide an invaluable service in matters of health to the African-American community and the nation at large. We are pleased to celebrate our diamond anniversary of excellence in service. We also want to issue a special thanks to the National Medical Association for its support during our 74 years."