Luncheon Raises $97,000 for NMF in California
| Founder's Award recipient,
Lonnie Bristow, MD (left) and NMF Chairman of the
Board, Arthur Kaemmer, MD.
After its second successful year, the Founder's Award Luncheon
in San Francisco benefiting National Medical Fellowships "is
taking on a life of its own," reported David Werdegar,
M.D., NMF board member and chairman of the event's planning
The event on May 22 raised $97,000 for NMF activities in
California (see sponsors
list). As an added feature, Kaiser Permanente announced
before some 140 guests that it was contributing $80,000 toward
the NMF AIDS Fellowship Program at the University of California,
San Francisco, AIDS Research Institute. Kaiser Permanente,
the oldest health maintenance organization in the country,
also will be making its AIDS clinics available for rotations
by NMF AIDS Fellows and assign as many as four physicians
specializing in AIDS care and prevention to serve as mentors
to the Fellows. The first cohort of eight medical students
is expected to enroll at UCSF's AIDS Fellowship Program in
the spring of 2003.
The luncheon, organized to support NMF and recognize a former
NMF scholar "who has made extraordinary contributions
to the health and well-being of the populace," honored
Lonnie Bristow, M.D., M.A.C.P.,
and former president of the American Medical Association (1995-96).
Dr. Bristow practiced internal medicine in the California
communities of Richmond and San Pablo for more than 30 years.
Retired since 1998, he has continued advocating, through the
AMA and other organizations, for programs that encourage youth
to consider the health professions as a career.
As a child in Harlem, Dr. Bristow readily viewed a career
in medicine for himself as attainable because of what he saw
at the former Sydenham Hospital, where he regularly waited
for his mother, a nurse, to complete her night shift so he
could walk her home. "There were physicians of almost
every race," he said. "This was an opportunity to
see people of color doing what seemed heroic to me, a boy
Sandra R. Hernandez, M.D.,
chief executive officer of The San Francisco Foundation and
a former NMF scholar, served as the luncheon's master of ceremonies.
Melanie Watkins, a fourth-year
student attending Stanford University School of Medicine,
delivered the student address. Ms. Watkins recounted her educational
hurdles, including pregnancy and childbirth as a teenager
and her role as a single parent, and the significance of receiving
need-based scholarship funds and fellowship awards through
NMF opened a San Francisco office three years ago and has
been instrumental in raising more than $1 million in new funding
for increasing the number of underrepresented physicians.
Fifteen per cent of all NMF funds were distributed to California
medical students last year. In the category of need-based
scholarships for first- and second-year medical students,
the proportion of funds disbursed was 36 per cent.
NMF also has been a pioneer with its Community Service Scholarship
Program, which now provides grants of $7,500 each to 16 medical
students throughout the state. In return, students serve six-week
externships in community health clinics, thereby offsetting
the rising costs of tuition and fees and making it that much
more possible to encourage careers in community primary care.
Annual Founders Award Luncheon