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IMF Medical Student Scholars for Health Equity in Myeloma Present Research at the 2023 NMA Annual Convention & Scientific Assembly

NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 07, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The International Myeloma Foundation (IMF), in partnership with the National Medical Association (NMA), the W. Montague Cobb Institute, and the Student National Medical Association (SNMA), sent a delegation of eleven IMF Medical Student Scholars for Health Equity in Myeloma along with their mentors to the 2023 NMA Annual Convention and Scientific Assembly, which took place in New Orleans, LA from July 29-August 2, 2023.

The NMA Annual Convention and Scientific Assembly is recognized as one of the best national forums of African American health and medicine.

The eleven student-mentor pairs shared their research during a poster walk on Monday, July 31, at the Hyatt Regency in New Orleans, with the following posters presented:

  1. African American Patients with High-Risk Myeloma Have Worse Outcomes Relative to non-African American Counterparts —Theodora C. Abah, BS, MS (Morehouse School of Medicine—Atlanta, GA) & Ajay K. Nooka, MD, MPH, FACP (Winship Cancer Institute, Emory University—Atlanta, GA)
  2. Association of Race with Rurality on Multiple Myeloma Outcomes: SEER Analysis, 1975-2019 — Semaj Testamark, BS (Emory University School of Medicine—Atlanta, GA) & Manisha Bhutani, MD (Atrium Health Levine Cancer Center—Charlotte, NC)
  3. Attitude of Myeloma Patients Towards Clinical Trials—Oluwadamilola Omojola, BS (Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine—Chicago, IL) & Benjamin Derman, MD (University of Chicago—Chicago, IL)
  4. Characteristics of Multiple Myeloma in Young Patients Under the Age of 45: A Retrospective Cohort Study—Chandler Gillard (Howard University College of Medicine—Washington, D.C.) & Sandrine Niyongere, MD (University of Maryland—College Park, MD)
  5. Discrepancies in Care: CAR T-Cell Therapy for Multiple Myeloma—Jan Powell, MS (Rush Medical College—Chicago, IL) & Jeffrey Zonder, MD (Karmanos Cancer Center—Detroit, MI); Justin Thomas, MS (Rush Medical College—Chicago, IL) & Craig Emmitt Cole, MD (Michigan State University—Lansing MI)
  6. Patient Awareness of CAR-T and Bispecific Antibody Treatments for Multiple Myeloma: Real-world Learnings and Disparities—Yaw Adu (Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine—Lubbock, TX) & Sikander Ailawadhi, MD (Mayo Clinic—Jacksonville, FL)
  7. Racial Differences in Outcomes of Patients with Relapsed/Refractory Multiple Myeloma Treated with Talquetamab in the Phase 1 MonumenTAL-1 Study (In Progress)—Justin C. Thomas, MS (Rush Medical College—Chicago IL) & Craig Emmitt Cole, MD (Michigan State University—Lansing, MI)
  8. Racial Disparities in the Incidence and Mortality Associated with Advanced Bone Disease and Renal Failure in Myeloma—A Community Practice Experience— Julia Kirkland (Kansas City University Joplin Campus—Joplin, MO) & Racquel Innis-Shelton, MD (Alabama Oncology—Birmingham, AL)
  9. Referral Patterns for Chimeric Antigen Receptor Therapy for Multiple Myeloma—Tafadzwa Amani, MS (Kansas City University—Kansas City, MO) & Brandon J. Blue, MD (Moffitt Cancer Center—Tampa, FL)
  10. Research Gaps in Multiple Myeloma Racial Disparities and Disease Cytogenetics— Irene Cooper, BS (Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine—Philadelphia, PA) & Saad Usmani, MD, MBA, FACP (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center—New York, NY)
  11. Uncovering Disparities in Autologous Bone Marrow Transplantation: Patient Perspectives and Decision-MakingNader Shayegh (Howard University College of Medicine—Washington, D.C.) & Tondre Buck, MD (Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System—Spartanburg, SC)

To know more, you may view the full posters here.

A Media Snippet accompanying this announcement is available by clicking on the image or link below:

“It was extraordinary to see the IMF Med Student Scholars mentoring program highlighted in this prestigious symposium on Health Disparities. It was a privilege to explain the unique disparities in the African American community related to myeloma and then to put solutions into practice by introducing the crowd to the medical students and their mentors. Furthermore, Dr. Monica Bertagnoli, the director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) was not only present, but she also joined us on the poster walk and met with every student. Everyone was impressed at the strength of the projects, the zeal of the students and the long-term commitment of the program to health equity,” said IMF Chief Medical Officer Dr. Joseph Mikhael.

"We are incredibly proud of the medical students and their mentors for successfully completing the IMF Medical Student Scholars for Health Equity in Myeloma program. This initiative exemplifies our commitment to fostering the next generation of healthcare leaders who are dedicated to advancing health equity (hopefully, in myeloma care). I look forward to witnessing the impact they will undoubtedly make," said IMF President & CEO Yelak Biru, who is also a 28-year myeloma survivor.

The IMF is grateful to our program sponsors: Cobb/NMA Health Institute President & CEO Randall C. Morgan, Jr., MD, MBA; and Clinical Professor of Medicine and Medical Oncology, Director of the Center to Eliminate Cancer Disparities at Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson, and 116th President of the National Medical Association Edith Peterson Mitchell, MD, MACP, FCPP, FRCP (London).

The National Medical Association (NMA) is “the collective voice of African American physicians and the leading force for parity and justice in medicine and the elimination of disparities in health.”

The national professional and scientific organization represents the interests of more than 50,000 African American physicians and the patients they serve and is committed to improving the quality of health among minorities and disadvantaged people through its membership, professional development, community health education, advocacy, research, and partnerships with federal and private agencies. Visit the NMA’s website to find out more.

Launched in December 2022, the Medical Student Scholars for Health Equity in Myeloma mentoring program was created by the IMF, in partnership with the W. Montague Cobb/NMA Health Institute’s Cobb Scholars Program, as a novel mentorship initiative for African American medical students.

By participating in the mentoring program, IMF Med Student Scholars contribute to its goals of:

  • Increasing the pool of African American physicians dedicated to myeloma health equity
  • Raising myeloma awareness among medical students, with a focus on its impact on African Americans
  • Supporting innovative health disparities projects in myeloma
  • Providing mentorship with myeloma experts
  • Creating a supportive community of mentors and mentees

The IMF Medical Student Scholars for Health Equity in Myeloma mentoring program is made possible through financial support by Johnson & Johnson QuickFire Challenge and Pfizer.

To learn more about the program, visit

Partnering with cities across the U.S., the International Myeloma Foundation’s (IMF) M-Power Project aims to turn the core vision of the IMF Diversity Initiative into a reality: improving the short- and long-term outcomes of African American patients with multiple myeloma. By raising myeloma awareness and empowering healthcare professionals, community leaders, neighborhoods, and families, the M-Power Project aims to break down barriers for the African American myeloma community.

Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the bone marrow plasma cells — white blood cells that make antibodies. A cancerous or malignant plasma cell is called a myeloma cell. Myeloma is called “multiple” because there are frequently multiple patches or areas in bone where it grows. It often involves damage to bone and kidneys. Multiple myeloma is still incurable, but great progress has been made in terms of survival over the last two decades. The disease is twice as common and is diagnosed at a younger age in African Americans than white Americans. The most common presenting symptoms include fatigue and bone pain.

Founded in 1990, the International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) is the first and largest global foundation focusing specifically on multiple myeloma. The Foundation's reach extends to more than 525,000 members in 140 countries worldwide. The IMF is dedicated to improving the quality of life of myeloma patients while working toward prevention and a cure by focusing on four key areas: research, education, support, and advocacy. The IMF has conducted more than 250 educational seminars worldwide, maintains a world-renowned InfoLine, and in 2001, established the International Myeloma Working Group (IMWG), a collaborative research initiative focused on improving myeloma treatment options for patients. In 2012, the IMF launched the Black Swan Research Initiative®, a groundbreaking research project aimed at curing myeloma. The IMF can be reached at (800) 452-CURE (2873). The global website is

Follow the IMF on:
Twitter: @IMFmyeloma
Instagram: @imfmyeloma
Facebook: @myeloma
LinkedIn: International Myeloma Foundation

Media Contacts:

Peter Anton

Jason London

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