Established in 1994, in Washington, DC, NHMA is a nonprofit association representing 50,000 licensed Hispanic physicians in the U.S. NHMA’s mission is to empower Hispanic physicians and other healthcare professionals to improve the health of Hispanic populations with Hispanic medical societies, resident and medical student organizations, and its public and private sector partners.

The Association established a Foundation, the National Hispanic Health Foundation (NHHF), to complement the work of the Association. Based in Washington, DC, its specific role is to develop educational activities and health policy research to improve the health of Hispanics. In 2005, NHHF became affiliated and is located at The Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University.

NHMA was developed as a result of a meeting of Presidents of Hispanic medical societies. During the meeting it was decided an organization was needed to fill a void in Washington, DC on the need for a voice for Hispanic/Latino physicians as advocates for Hispanic health with the Federal government. This decision grew from a history of organizing efforts dating back to the 1960’s when Hispanic medical students formed regional associations and local societies focused on social and charitable activities.

In 1982, Dr. Elena Rios established the California Chicano/Latino Medical Student Association and in 1985, the Supernetwork Program to link CMSA with 25 undergraduate Chicano premed clubs. In 1987, Dr. Rios formed the National Latin American Medical Student Network.

From 1995 to 1996, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Health Resources and Services Administration supported 5 regional meetings with Hispanic health leaders around the country. The following year, NHMA convened its First Annual National Conference.

In October 1998, Dr. Rios became the President and CEO of NHMA, after receiving Federal funding through a Cooperative Agreement with the HHS Office of Minority Health.

In 2000, NHMA opened its first office, expanded its staff , and began to receive funding from a number of Foundations, government, and the private sector for a variety of programs, including launching the Hispanic-Serving Health Professional Schools, NHMA Leadership Fellowship, NHMA Resident Leadership Program, NHMA Public Health Fellowship, NHMA Research Network, Cultural Competence Curriculum Project, the National Hispanic Health Leadership Summit, NHHF Hispanic Health Professional Student Scholarship, and the Congressional Hispanic Health Briefing Series.

In 2005, NHMA completed a strategic review and expanded its Board of Directors to include nationally recognized leaders in the health sector and NHHF established its Corporate Advisory Council. A formal affiliation was signed with NYU-Wagner. In addition, NHMA created the National Hispanic Health Professional Leadership Network – consisting of presidents of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses, Hispanic Dental Association, Latino Caucus of APHA, National Forum of Latino Executives, Association of Hispanic Health Executives of NY, Mental Health Resource Center of NJ, and other national Hispanic mental health groups to promote leadership and advocacy at the Federal level.

In 2006, NHMA contracted with a fundraiser to expand corporate sector financial support and an association development company to develop the strategy for infrastructure to support dramatic increases in membership. The first step in this strategy is the establishment of an association of State Medical Societies which NHMA has developed through its Obesity and Diabetes Education Project and new portal (HispanicHealth.info).

In 2007-2008, NHMA and the U.S Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health convened Regional Leadership Summits on Hispanics and Health Policy for the next five years. The recommendations focused on access, prevention of diabetes and obesity, and increasing Hispanics in the health professions and were presented in 2008 to presidential candidates and to Senator Kennedy’s hearings for health care reform. In 2009, NHHF worked with the the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation to convene the forum on “Increasing Diversity in Title VII Medical Education”. Both reports are available at NHMA.

In 2009, NHMA established the Council of Residents and continued to convene regional meetings to further develop its networks and membership.

In 2010, NHMA signed the MOU with the Latino medical Student Association whose national coordinator now sits on the NHMA Board of Directors. Finally, the Board of Directors met in a retreat to develop its next 3 year Action Plan to continue to advocate for the improved health for Hispanics and all Americans.

In 2011, NHMA was asked to develop the Immunization Campaign with the US Department of Health and Human Services, the Secretary of HHS addressed the members at our 2012 Conference, and NHMA leaders met with the NIH about their concerns of the poor record of funding Hispanic principle investigators. We also heard from our Corporate Advisory Council who have prioritized that NHMA develop its recruitment of clinical trial investigators to increase diversity in research in the private practice sector too.

In 2012, NHMA has signed on to the Amicus Briefs in support of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate and Medicaid expansion for the June Supreme Court decision and signed on the Brief in support of Affirmative Action for the October Supreme Court decision on Fisher Case from Texas. This summer, Dr. Rios was asked to present to the Democratic Convention’s Platform Committee to provide ideas on the need to continue the Affordable Care Act and the health disparities focus of the Federal government, including the HCOP Program to recruit our community’s students to medical school. As a nonpartisan organization, NHMA has encouraged all members to join their party’s efforts for the presidential election as leaders in their communities.

In addition, the NHMA and NHHF Boards of Directors have met annually for 3 years discussing the future plans and branding for the organizations and the new NHMA Regional Structure for 2013. We developed 6 Regions with a link to the Board of Directors, led by new Steering Committees. NHMA Annual Conference will continue to be held in Washington, DC in March, 2018.

Join NHMA – we welcome all health professionals, non-health professionals and students who are committed to our goal to improve the health of Hispanic populations.

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