Who could have known that preparing for the changes in health care could be so educational, fun and rewarding all in one place at one time? Well, Heritage Health Magazine was on the scene at the National Medical Association’s Annual Convention in New Orleans, La., and boy was it a magnificent event! Never before have we seen so many minorities of African descent in the medical arena in one place at one time. Physicians, dentists, pharmacists, medical school students, students studying to be in the healthcare field, students who were thinking about studying to be in the health field, pharmaceutical companies, cosmetic companies, media companies, all kinds of businesses were there, including the military, government agencies, and too many more to name.

If you are of African descent and are a physician, pharmacist or dentist; or if you even have an inkling of a thought that you may want to get into the health care arena, this was the event of the year. Oh, please don’t tell us you missed it! Well, you certainly don’t want to miss this event next year, especially if you are interested in the world of health. (To find out more about next year’s event you can go to Pages 50-51 in this issue of HHM or go to Talk HHM at hhmmag.com.)

Each year, for the past 109 years, the NMA’s Annual Convention & Scientific Assembly fills cities with a scene like no other: hundreds of African American health care professionals and students all in one place at one time perfecting their craft and working on ways to help minorities and the disadvantaged become healthier. It’s a long-time tradition for NMA. Since the organization started in 1895, it has worked to offer opportunities for minorities to learn more about health care and to become healthier. As a matter of fact, with minorities being less healthy than most people, NMA takes on the responsibility of helping close the gap of disparity by educating healthcare professionals, getting involved in the politics to improve health care, sponsoring community events and providing scholarships for students going into the health care industry to help increase the number of African Americans in the healthcare profession. So, when you’re involved with NMA you are among the best to become one of the best in your field.

From the White House to our house the arms of this national medical association reach out to improve the overall health of the minority community. In fact, our local chapter of NMA, known as the Arkansas Medical, Dental and Pharmaceutical Association, works to carry out the national mission on a local level. Just this summer Dr. Derek Lewis, a family practice physician in Little Rock, was elected president of AMDPA to take charge of the mission. Meanwhile, at this year’s NMA convention, Dr. Rahn Kennedy Bailey, chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at MeHarry Medical College in Nashville, Tenn., was elected the new president of the National Medical Association NMA to lead out in national and global efforts to improve overall health and healthcare for minorities. Dr. Bailey picks up the work where last year’s president, Dr. Cedric M. Bright, leaves off.


This year’s five-day convention, with the theme “Paradigm Shift: Equipping Physicians for a New Health Landscape,” offered seminars for anything you could imagine you may want to know or learn about health and health care.  Information about the latest developments; demonstrations for some of the newest techniques and the results of the members’ research projects were presented. Specialties from neurology to family practice to psychiatry to podiatry, your mind, heart and soul could be filled to the brim with excellence in healthcare. Then, you could go to the exhibit hall to find folks at the convention who were about the business. Several exhibitors showed off their goods and services with thousands of giveaways for the “goody” bags vendors provided. Okay, so with all of these wonderful sharing and learning opportunities, there is one thing this convention was not. It was not all work and no play. The organizers made sure of that as D.L. Hughley took the stage for the “Laughter Is Good Medicine Comedy Benefit.” Also, high achievers were recognized with an awards ceremony showcasing contributions to NMA and the field of medicine. The convention took the health message to the streets of New Orleans with the “Walk A Mile With A Child” to motivate young and old to adopt healthy habits that include daily exercise and good lifestyle choices. Other special guests included actress Lynn Whitfield and chef Paula Dean.

After being on the scene at this year’s convention, HHM has already put it on the calendar to go into the world of medicine NMA style at next year’s convention. So whatever the specialty or interest you may have in the world of health, you are invited to join us. HHM looks forward to seeing you next year at NMA’s conventional world of health, education, food and fun. HHM