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History and Mission

History of the Student National Medical Association

The Student National Medical Association (SNMA) was established because of a need to produce competent and compassionate physicians to serve minority and indigent communities. These communities suffer from illnesses and deprivations that are both appalling and unacceptable in comparison to the majority community. SNMA was founded to foster within minority students an obligation to excellence and to produce quality health-care teams armed with the knowledge, skill and insight to practice medicine within underserved communities. In 1964, under the auspices of the National Medical Association, the SNMA Constitutions and By-laws were drafted and approved. In 1971, SNMA became a nationally independent, nonprofit corporation with fiscal integrity and financial autonomy. As a result of the increase in minority medical students between 1971 and 1975, the association gained increasing recognition by government, private industries and health organizations. During the mid to late 1970’s, SNMA turned its efforts towards addressing health education and health-care issues while continuing the fight towards greater representation of minorities in health professions. The 1980’s witnessed the expansion of the horizons of the SNMA to encompass academic medicine. SNMA has three main levels of operation: The national office, 10 regional offices and over 120 medical school chapter affiliates. The Board of Directors, elected by regional constituents, are responsible for the association’s corporate obligations. The House of Delegates, the highest governing body, is composed of representatives of the membership at large. They determine the direction and focus of the organization. The founders of the Student National Medical Association established goals and purposes of the organization, as specified in Article II of its Constitution, to:

  • Create an atmosphere wherein professional excellence and moral principles can find fullest expression;
  • Disseminate information relevant to minority problems within the field of medical education;
  • Take the necessary and proper steps to eradicate prejudicial practices in the field of medical education and related areas, as these practices are based on race, creed, color, sex or national origin;
  • Develop workable programs or implement better urban and rural health care;
  • Provide national leadership on the promulgation of legislative policies for the provision of better health-care;
  • Sponsor programs for minority youth to encourage their entrance into the health-care professions; and
  • Raise the levels of minority student recruitment, admissions and retention in schools training health-care professionals.

Our Mission Statement

SNMA was founded to foster within minority students an obligation to excellence and to produce quality health-care teams armed with the knowledge, skill and insight to practice medicine within underserved communities. This chapter aims to improve the health status of the underserved by providing:

  • A network of academic, social and psychological supports to current minority medical students;
  • Conducting community service projects that encourage health promotion and disease prevention;
  • Activities to encourage young people who have an interest in health professions;
  • Fostering relationships between physicians of color, medical students, pre-medical students, and youth.