02.11.20 Scholarships

Vandenberg Health Equity Fund strengthens AMAF commitment to promoting health equity

Two years after the AMA Foundation (AMAF) partnered with AMA General Counsel Brian Vandenberg to establish the David Jones Peck, M.D. Health Equity Scholarship Fund as part of the Physicians of Tomorrow Scholarship Program, the AMAF is proud to announce an additional gift to create the Vandenberg Health Equity Fund, which will permanently endow the David Jones Peck, M.D. Health Equity Scholarship. Dr. Peck was the first African American doctor to graduate from an American medical school, Rush Medical College in Chicago, in 1847 – the same year in which the AMA was founded.

The new scholarship honors Peck’s legacy in perpetuity by specifically supporting medical students who demonstrate a commitment to addressing health disparities and promoting health equity in marginalized and minoritized communities.

In addition to permanently endowing the Peck Scholarship, the Vandenberg Health Equity Fund further demonstrates Jamie and Brian Vandenberg’s commitment to health equity through a new partnership with the Native American Center for Health Professions (NACHP, nay-chip) at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, which will provide scholarships and other support to eligible Native American medical students. NACHP was founded in 2012 with the vision to improve the health and well-being of Native American communities through increased representation of Native American health professionals. Wisconsin serves as home to 12 Native Nations, many of whom face the most striking health disparities in the state.

Vandenberg shared his inspiration for creating the Peck Scholarship and his desire to provide a long-term commitment to both the AMA Foundation and the University of Wisconsin, stating: “This investment recognizes an urgent need to close the health disparity gaps that have been perpetuated over time, particularly in communities of color that have experienced historical and contemporary exploitation and disinvestment. The AMA, the AMA Foundation and NACHP strive to expand equitable access to care and promote greater diversity within the medical workforce. My hope is that by permanently endowing the Peck Scholarship and beginning this partnership with NACHP at UW-Madison, we take another step toward achieving our bold mission.”

“It is an honor for our center to receive this generous gift to support our students on their path to becoming future healers and leaders in advancing health equity,” says Danielle Yancey, director of NACHP.  To enhance opportunities for Native American and Alaska Native medical students to work with tribal communities, NACHP partners with tribal clinics across Wisconsin to sponsor medical students for clinical rotations and involvement in community-based health initiatives.

Nothing illustrates the impact of the Physicians of Tomorrow Scholarship Program like the story of Crystal Taylor, a fourth-year medical student at the University of Pittsburgh College of Medicine. Taylor was the recipient of the 2019 David Jones Peck, M.D. Health Equity Scholarship. During a recent visit to the AMA, Crystal shared that she is driven to confront health equities by witnessing her grandfather’s health decline from preventable issues, which had a profound effect on her family and lit a fire in her to do what she could from within the health care field to create meaningful change. Hear more from Crystal about what receiving the Peck Scholarship means to her and the impact it has had by clicking below.

Click here if you would like to learn more about the AMA Foundation and its programs and here to learn more about the Native American Center for Health Professions (NACHP) at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

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