History of the Minority Health Institute

The Minority Health Institute (MHI) was founded in 1985 by Dr. Richard Allen Williams, M.D., FACC, FAHA, FACP, and incorporated in the State of California in 1987 as a nonprofit organization dedicated to the elimination of healthcare disparities. MHI was granted 501(c)(3) status as a charitable institution by the Internal Revenue Service in 1989. Our motto is “Uplifting the health of humanity”.

Over the past 35 years, MHI has developed a national reputation for educating physicians and other healthcare professionals as well as the general public about the need to recognize that the delivery of medical care for Blacks and other minorities is substandard, and is impacted by lack of equal access to medical resources, unequal treatment, cultural incompetence, denial of the highest standards of care, and blatant bias and discrimination. Through the organization of educational programs such as symposia, seminars, lectures, health fairs, and media campaigns, it has recruited the best academicians, scholars and clinicians in the nation to carry the message of how to improve this situation. It has been supported in these efforts by renowned institutions such as NIH, RAND, Harvard University, UCLA, USC, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, the Association of Black Cardiologists, the American Heart Association, the National Medical Association, the American Medical Association, the National Association of Black Nurses, the NAACP, California Partnership for Access to Treatment, Community Health Councils of California, the Los Angeles Coalition for Health and Justice, the California Latino Medical Association (CalMA), the Network of Ethnic Physicians Organization (NEPO), and several pharmaceutical companies. MHI has also testified before the California Legislature on minority health problems such as obesity, diabetes, and hypertension. MHI has received plaudits and awards from many national, state, and local government agencies for its efforts to eliminate disparities in medicine. Nine books and several journal articles have been published or contributed to by MHI, and three new books, Eliminating Healthcare Disparities in America, Healthcare Disparities at the Crossroads with Healthcare Reform, and Blacks in Medicine (all available through Springer.com) have recently been published under MHI sponsorship.

One glaring deficiency in medical education that MHI has focused upon is the lack of adequate numbers of Blacks and other minorities graduating from medical school. MHI has interacted with deans of various minority and other medical institutions as well as with officials of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) who have attended our seminars, and has found that one of the most important problems that face minority medical students is financial support to help them complete their education. Accordingly, MHI has established a scholarship fund for African American and other minority medical students.

MHI annually hosts its Minority Health Summit during the Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Weekend in Washington, D.C. This hugely successful event brings together the most distinguished scholars, academicians, and clinicians to provide their expertise on a wide range of subjects impacting the Black community.

In recent months, MHI has turned its focus on the Coronavirus or COVID-19 crisis that is gripping the entire world but is particularly and disproportionately devastating to the black population of the United States. Accordingly, MHI is leading the way in educating the public about this threat to life and health. Our main approach is holding virtual/online Town Hall meetings. Our first meeting, in which an expert panel of thought leaders participated, went viral and was live streamed by ABC7 to millions of people nationwide via their website and affiliate stations.

You can contribute to minority medical education and the elimination of healthcare disparities by donating to this significant cause. All donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. The future of minority health care in America depends upon it.