National Medical Fellowships

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National Medical Fellowships, Inc.
Founded 1946
Founder Franklin McLean MD, PHD
Type Nonprofit
  • New York
Area served
Services Scholarships, Service Learning Programs
Key people
Dr. Esther R. Dyer, President & CEO

National Medical Fellowships, Inc. (NMF) is a nonprofit organization providing scholarships and awards to underrepresented minority medical students, and offering service learning programs to students and health professionals.

Since its inception in 1946, National Medical Fellowships has provided over $40 million to upward of 30,000 minority community members.


National Medical Fellowships was started by Dr. Franklin C. McLean MD, PhD, who was a professor of physiology at the University of Chicago.[1] Dr. McLean saw that the lack of opportunities for African-American physicians was a problem.

Long before “diversity” was a national value, NMF began giving scholarships to African American physicians and medical students who otherwise could not have afforded a medical education. As broad social changes swept America, NMF expanded its commitment, giving grants on a national basis to other groups underrepresented in medicine.

Through its scholarship programs, NMF has been instrumental in increasing the number of underrepresented minority physicians and researchers in the US. In recent years, NMF has expanded its efforts, with fellowship programs that help medical students address health disparities in underserved communities, in the US and globally. NMF was credited by New York Times in decreasing of discrimination and rise of medical enrollments by minorities in 1962.[2]


Anarcha, Betsy and Lucy Memorial Scholarship Award:[3] established by NMF Alumna Yvonne S. Thornton, MD, MPH, FACOG, is given in honor of three slaves who, as subjects of experimentation, influenced advances in current surgical knowledge and skills and are recognized today as the Mothers of Gynecology. This award is given to a female African American medical student who is a known descendant of American slaves.

Aura E. Severinghaus Award:[4] honors the memory of the NMF Board member and associate dean emeritus of Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons. This award is presented annually to a 4th year minority student attending that medical school.

Emergency Scholarship Fund:[5] supports medical students facing unexpected financial hardships that threaten their graduation and their careers as physician-leaders.

Gerber Scholarship in Pediatrics Program:[6] supports two outstanding medical students with an interest in pediatrics with an emphasis in nutrition.

Hugh J. Andersen Scholarship Program:[7] honors a longtime NMF contributor in Minneapolis/St. Paul, and is awarded annually to two 2nd and 3rd year students in Minnesota medical schools in recognition of leadership and community service.

Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation Scholarship Program:[8] supports 2nd and 3rd year underrepresented minorities early in their medical careers

Manhattan Central Medical Society Scholarship:[9] established by the Manhattan Central Medical Society, this award is given to an African-American medical student enrolled in the greater New York area.

Mary Ball Carrera Scholarship:[10] established by NMF Board member Neal Ball to honor the memory of his sister Mary Ball Carrera, is presented to an outstanding Native American woman, recognized for outstanding academic achievement, leadership, and community service, and enrolled in an accredited US medical school.

New York Community Trust/NMF Medical Research Scholarship Program:[11] provides two community health research scholarships to talented underrepresented minority medical students in New York to nurture future physicians who will engage in critical research in healthcare delivery in underserved communities.

Wayne Anthony Butts Scholarship Award:[12] established by distinguished NMF Alumnus Dr. Gary C. Butts to honor the memory of his late brother, is presented during the New York Gala to a 1st or 2nd year minority medical student studying in the New York metro area, in recognition of outstanding academic achievement, leadership, community service, and interest in urban health issues.

Service-Learning Programs[edit]

Besides providing scholarships and awards, National Medical Fellowships, Inc. and its partners sponsor multiple learning service programs for medical students and health professionals:

California Community Service-Learning Program:[13] awarded to 14 qualified California medical students who demonstrate leadership and commitment to medically underserved communities in California, provides the opportunity to conduct a self-directed community health project under the direction of a site mentor.

Dr. David Monash/John Caldwell Scott Medical Student Scholarship Program:[14] launched with support from The Chicago Community Trust, was conceived in response to a Chicago initiative—the “2040 Project”—which predicts that Chicago will lack an adequate workforce to satisfy the population’s healthcare needs by 2040. The Chicago-based program provides six service scholarships to 2nd and 3rd year minority medical students enrolled in Chicago medical schools, and four residency scholarships to help reduce loan debt to medical school graduates who have matched as clinical residents in the Chicago area.

GE-NMF Primary Care Leadership Program[15] in partnership with GE Foundation, provides future healthcare professionals with an opportunity to experience the challenges and rewards of primary care practice in community health centers across the US. This program is open to medical students, nursing, and physician assistant students who are poised to become leaders in primary care. Please see for details.

United Health Foundation/NMF Diverse Medical Scholars Program:[16] awards 22 qualified underrepresented minority medical students who exhibit leadership and community commitment to conduct a self-directed community health project in a medically underserved community. Targeted locations are Greater New York, Metropolitan Atlanta, Louisiana and Florida (Orlando and Greater Miami).