The Imhotep Connecticut National Medical Association Society (CT NMA) has been relaunched thanks to the efforts of UConn School of Medicine faculty. As a community-based affiliated organization of the National Medical Association it represents the interests of Black physicians and the patients they serve.
President of the CT NMA Dr. Cato T. Laurencin of UConn’s medical school announced the Society’s relaunch which serves as a networking platform for Black physicians and plays a significant role in the dissemination of health information to the Black community. Its mission statement notes the CT NMA is “a collective voice of Black physicians and will be a leading force for parity and justice in medicine and the elimination of disparities in health.”
The Society held its first inaugural meeting with leadership of the National Medical Association, hospital executives, and legislative leaders in attendance on March 17.
“The goal in terms of the society is to work to create a welcoming environment for Black physicians, fellows, students and residents in the State of Connecticut. We aim to create an ecosystem that supports the work and concerns inclusive of all of these individuals. The Society hopes to promote a sense of well-being through various programming, events and other venues that create comradery amongst the group,” said Laurencin. “The Society encourages the support of allies to this goal. It is gratifying to see the support of the leaders of all the major health systems in the state.”
The President of the National Medical Association, Dr. Leon McDougle, attended this inaugural meeting. It was noted that he was the first individual to donate to the society.
“Coming in as President Elect of the NMA, my charge was to visit as many state and local societies as possible. Due to Dr. Cato Laurencin’s efforts here we are today, moving forward in addressing very necessary issues within the Black community,” said McDougle.
NMA Region I Chair, Dr. Gary Butts of New York indicated, “Nothing matters more in my mind than the work we do for others and the support of the NMA. This society enables us to come together on behalf of the community that we have committed our professional lives to. This is just the beginning.”
Dr. Marja Hurley, the vice president of CT NMA and professor of medicine and orthopaedic surgery at the UConn School of Medicine said: “I always felt it was critical that Black physicians be available to mentor students and residents. I also think given COVID-19 and the amounting health disparities we have seen over the past year, we need to be at the forefront, our voices need to be heard, and having this organization will allow us to be more engaged and welcome all of our allies who are willing to push forward.”
Since July 2020, President Laurencin has already made great advances in the organization’s development. Laurencin, along with the entire Society, officially secured support and funding from all major Connecticut hospital healthcare systems including:
- UConn Health
- Hartford HealthCare
- Connecticut Children’s
- Trinity Health of New England
- Yale New Haven Health
- Eastern Connecticut Health Network
- Nuvance Health
- Waterbury Hospital/ Waterbury Health
Executives representing Connecticut hospital systems were present at the inaugural meeting and reiterated their support for the CT NMA and its mission.
CEO for UConn Health, Dr. Andrew Agwunobi was in attendance and showed his support for the newly formed group. “Dr. Laurencin’s achievements at UConn have certainly raised the bar. He is a powerhouse for diversity and inclusion for the community. COVID-19 has shone a light on healthcare disparities, and now more than ever, diversity and inclusion is critical in the healthcare arena. The newly formed society and Dr. Cato Laurencin converging together will create a historic moment for Black healthcare.”
President and CEO of Hartford HealthCare, Mr. Jeffrey Flaks stated, “Hartford HealthCare is committed to making sustained and measurable progress to address, and ultimately eliminate, inequities in healthcare. Drastic changes are needed, and working with the CT NMA Society is an important step on this journey.”
CEO of Waterbury Health, Mr. Lester Schindel stated, “We are committed to improving the quality of healthcare. By being part of this organization it is consistent with our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. This society will enable our medical staff and leadership to continue to learn throughout this journey.”
Legislative leaders were also present, and confirmed their support. “This society will enable doing what needs to be done to change the health conditions of the people in our communities. This society will undoubtedly yield action and outcome,” commented State Senator Douglas McCrory.
The Imhotep Connecticut National Medical Association Society looks forward to tackling the challenges that lie ahead to create a better environment for Black doctors and to ultimately address health disparities in the State of Connecticut.
For more information and to be a part of this growing Society, please visit www.CTNMA.ORG.