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AMA Foundation's Impact

Since 1950, the AMA Foundation has supported medical students, community-based organizations and health care professionals with a wide variety of scholarships, grants and resources.

This page provides an overview of our impact both quantitatively and qualitatively through the number of people served by our programs, the amount of dollars awarded, accomplishments and evaluation results from actual grants and scholarships, and quotes from the recipients themselves.

By the Numbers

  • In 2013, the AMA Foundation awarded a total of $731,000 in scholarships and grants. Specifically, more than $290,000 in the form of tuition assistance scholarships for medical students.
  • This year the AMA Foundation awarded the first part of a three-year, $60,000 grant to the Health and Medicine Policy Research Group to support its Chicago-area Schweitzer Fellows Program. The grant supports the development of a Fellows for Life seed grant program, which provides funding to alumni of the Schweitzer Fellows Program to begin, sustain, or build on innovative community projects that help underserved Chicago communities.
  • In the past decade, more than $1.2 million in medical research grants has been awarded to medical students, residents, and fellows to conduct 505 different projects.
  • An additional $914,000 supported 44 research forums for junior investigators to present their research in front of peers and established scientists.
  • More than $1.3 million has been granted to 66 free clinics that provide much needed medical care at little or no cost to uninsured patients.
  • Since 1999, the AMA Foundation has been a leader in the health literacy field – educating tens of thousands of physicians around the world through toolkits, videos, research reports, patient safety monographs, tip cards, and listservs. Seven train-the-trainer programs have been conducted, and evaluation data indicates we have reached more than 30,000 health care professionals.
  • The Healthy Living Program has provided more than $900,000 to 331 nonprofit organizations for healthy lifestyles projects throughout the United States.
  • Through the Excellence in Medicine Awards program:
    • More than 600 outstanding individuals have been recognized with Leadership Awards for their community service and advocacy efforts, and have received special training to help them continue improving health care in America.
    • Fifty-eight altruistic physicians have been honored with awards for their inspirational work to increase access to health care.
  • The AMA Foundation has supported public health initiatives, scholarships and research grants with more than $100 million since its inception in 1950.

Grant and Scholarship Results

  • To date, 100% of physicians who have evaluated the Foundation’s health literacy toolkit stated that it:
    • Defined the scope of health literacy
    • Enabled them to recognize health system barriers faced by patients with low literacy
    • Enabled them to implement improved methods of verbal and written communication
    • Provided them with practical strategies for creating a shame-free environment
  • Healthy Living grant recipients reported that their public health projects:
    • Will continue (86%)
    • Aided in collaboration (79%)
    • Increased volunteers (62%)
    • Stimulated new funding (55%)
  • Healthy Living grant recipient The Youth Foundation, in Edwards, Colorado, used the funds for their Kidstrong program – serving over 500 economically disadvantaged children through weekly physical activity and nutrition lessons. Pre and post tests showed that:
    • Kids who exercised for a minimum of 20 minutes, 4 times a week increased by 42%
    • Kids who watched television for 3 hours a day or more decreased by 33%
    • The number of kids who learned that one should eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables nearly doubled.
    • They maintained a 90% attendance rate throughout the year. 
  • Korean American Women in Need used their Healthy Living grant to launch a comprehensive media campaign to end violence.  During and after this campaign, the organization saw a 20% increase in hotline calls, a 28% increase in their number of clients and a 166% increase in request for presentations about the issue of domestic violence.
  • Fostoria Community Hospital in Ohio received a Healthy Living grant to implement the Smoke Less Breathe More program, designed to reduce the number of low-income individuals who use tobacco in the community.  Results showed that 80% of participants who completed the program reduced their tobacco usage by 50% and 45% quit completely.
  • Forty-one percent of free clinics believe they were able to obtain grants from new funders as a direct result of having received a Healthy Communities/Healthy America grant.  Another 70% report that the grant boosted their visibility in their communities and opened doors to additional grants and awards.  Eighty-nine percent of the grant-funded projects met their stated goals and 100% are still in existence in some way today.
  • West Virginia Health Right in Charleston, used their Healthy Communities/Healthy America grant to enroll 217 patients in a diabetes management class, helping them decrease their blood sugar (average A1C levels from 9.03 to 7.87).  Twenty-five percent of them had a two-point or greater drop.  Patients who attended the class 6 or more times had a higher reduction in A1C levels than patients who attended 1-2 times.
  • Community Health-In-Partnership Services in St. Louis, another Healthy Communities/Healthy America grant recipient, helped facilitate sustainable weight loss by their patients.  They referred 850 patients to their Living Lean program, introduced an on-site group exercise class, provided intensive dietary counseling, and held peer and diabetes support groups.  The clinic had 10% of participants reach their target weight, 42% lost weight but did not reach their target weight, 15% actually maintained their weight loss, and 29% had improved blood pressure after 6 months in the program.
  • A follow-up survey of Seed Grant Research Program recipients found that after having received their grant, they:
    • Were inspired and encouraged to continue doing research (96%)
    • Felt more prepared and confident in applying for other grants (83%)
    • Saved their research mentor money which s/he would have had to spend to help them do their projects (69%)
    • Presented their research at a poster session or got invited to speak at a scientific meeting (64%)
  • Scholarship recipients have reported that the award helped them by reducing debt, opening doors to other opportunities, decreasing stress and providing a renewed sense of purpose and encouragement. Specifically, the Minority Scholars Award had an impact on recipients by:
    • Reducing debt levels (91%)
    • Providing encouragement (83%)
    • Receiving recognition at their medical schools (79%)
    • Reducing stress levels (52%)
  • The Minority Scholars Award recipients are also leaders and role models in their communities, and are continuing their volunteerism in the following activities:
    • Organized medicine (69%)
    • Free clinic, health fair and health screening volunteerism (67%)
    • Mentoring minority youth (67%)

In Their Own Words

  • Sumanta Pal, MD received funding from the Seed Grant Research Program and stated, "The AMA Foundation should be commended for establishing such an outstanding program for junior investigators…At a time when funding for medical research had reached a nadir nationally, this grant was a ray of hope in an otherwise bleak environment.  The AMA Foundation Seed Grant has had an amazing impact on my career."

    * Data from Dr. Pal’s research helped him secure a larger grant from the California Breast Cancer Research Program and a full-time faculty position at the City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center.  He credits the AMA Foundation for the start of his teaching career.
  • Lindsay Greensweig of the El Camino Hospital Foundation in Mountain View, Calif., a Healthy Communities/Healthy America recipient, stated, “Being recognized with a grant from the AMA Foundation has given the RotaCare Clinic greater status and visibility in the community.  This has strengthened our partnerships and provided a new form of recognition for the tremendous contribution physician volunteers make to the community.”
  • Nilda Soto, MD, Medical Director at Open Door Health Center in Homestead, Fla. spoke of the Healthy Communities/Healthy America program: “This grant gave us the opportunity to feel recognized and supported by our peers and created opportunities to expand our collaboration model and promotion beyond this small poor community…it reinforced our motto: ‘Medicine for the poor does not have to be poor medicine.’” 
  • As a medical student at University of Texas, Houston, Nadia Hernandez received a Physicians of Tomorrow Scholarship recipient and said, “My parents’ combined income last year was $6,000… When they found out that I had won a scholarship in the amount of $10,000, my mother cried and said she would pray for the people who made this possible.

    * Dr. Hernandez is now a resident physician at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.
  • Kate Seymour, a Physicians of Tomorrow Scholarship recipient attending University of Kansas School of Medicine, said, “The honor of this scholarship has many meanings.  I believe that receiving national recognition from the AMA will be beneficial as I apply and interview for residency programs. In addition, the financial assistance is very reassuring….it was comforting to know that choosing a primary care career would not necessarily mean increased debt.”
  • Lucille Torres, a student at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, stated of her Minority Scholars Award, “Due to your generosity, you have lightened my financial uncertainties, which as allowed me to focus more on the most important aspect of school – learning….it has also renewed by confidence and determination to accomplish my professional goals.  Thanks to you, I am one step closer to my goal of becoming the first physician in my family.”
  • Patrick Julian, a financial aid counselor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, said ”Thanks so much for helping to support our students as they get ready to go out and save the world!"
  • Ben Forman of Teens Run DC said of their Healthy Living grant, “…we very much need the money to create the programming for DC youth.  The grant also is so valuable as an affirmation of our vision…Much as we try to hold the youth under our care…encouraging them to reach and achieve, your support does much the same for us as an organization.”
  • Biola University received a Healthy Living grant for their initiatives for the elderly in La Mirada, Calif., and stated, “The grant lent a level of credibility to our work that encouraged the city to help us support older adults.”
  • Carol Lee, Esq., of the California Medical Association Foundation, said, “…partners like you are the heart and soul of what makes the Foundation effective.  With your support, we’ll be able to continue to provide training, technical assistance and resource materials to these Physician Champions and their communities to promote healthy lifestyles and reduce the prevalence of overweight and obesity.”
  • Natasha Bhuyan, a medical student at the University of Arizona College of Medicine and Leadership Award recipient, stated, “The AMA Foundation Leadership Award Program was an amazing opportunity to network with inspiring physicians and medical students from across the nation.  I often feel alone in my little corner of medicine, but this experience once again showed me that across the nation there are many working towards the common goal of better patient care.”