SILVER SPRING, MD – The National Medical Association (NMA) is hosting its 121st Annual Convention and Scientific Assembly, themed “Accelerating the March Toward Health Equity,” July 29 – August 2, 2023, in the culturally rich city of New Orleans, LA, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. This annual conference is acclaimed as the nation’s foremost forum on medical science and African American health. Each year, thousands of African American physicians and other health professionals from across the country convene to participate in the scholarly exchange of medical advances and to advance our health policy agenda for the coming year.
This year, NMA was proud to announce a partnership supporting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® in a three-year journey to expand the knowledge of, and research for, those impacted by Sickle Cell Disease (SCD). SCD is the most common genetic disease screened for in newborns, prevalent in 1 in 2,400 of the general population and 1 in 400 of African Americans. Both the NMA and St. Jude have always been deeply committed to eliminating health disparities. This new partnership will create new ways for the NMA to raise awareness of St. Jude and, through such awareness, support advances in treatment and research for children everywhere. “Serving as the leading force for parity and justice in medicine and the elimination of disparities in health, the National Medical Association is excited to help accelerate work by St. Jude in increasing positive health outcomes in a manageable disease as prevalent as SCD,” said NMA Executive Director, Joy D. Calloway, MBA, MHSA.
These and other issues were addressed at the Roland B. Scott, M.D. Memorial Symposium, Presidential Session on Sickle Cell Disease, Monday, July 31st, 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Among featured presenters, Congressman Danny Davis shared details of the Sickle Cell Disease Comprehensive Care Act, first introduced in 2021 and reintroduced in March of this year by U. S. Senators Corey Booker (D-NJ) and Tim Scott (R-SC), and U. S. Representatives Danny Dais (D-IL) and Michael Burgess (R-TX).
In addition, A. C. Wharton, executive director of development at ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude, spoke at the session concerning the importance of the partnership for all those affected by sickle cell disease. “This agreement is not merely words on paper, but a living commitment to work together to advance efforts by St. Jude towards a cure for sickle cell disease and other catastrophic childhood illnesses,” shared Wharton. “The power of the National Medical Association supporting the lifesaving work of St. Jude will bring hope to children everywhere, because every child deserves a chance to live their best life.”
The mission of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is to advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. Consistent with the vision of our founder Danny Thomas, no child is denied treatment based on race, religion or a family’s ability to pay.