Mental health issues increasingly affect more people each year and cause immeasurable rates of mortality and morbidity. According to the National Institutes of Mental Health, nearly 20% of Americans suffer from some form of mental health illness. Further, the strain on a healthcare system ill-equipped to deal with these issues is passed on to healthcare companies, providers, and ultimately patients. Even physicians themselves are not immune to mental health maladies and can suffer from symptoms of mental illness because of burnout. This crisis has only increased during the pandemic as disparities have become more obvious. Mental health issues affect all ethnicities, but there are only a few African-American neurologists, psychiatrists, and family medicine doctors specializing in mental health treatment. Increasing the number of African-American physicians to provide care for African-American patient populations is critical to create bonds of trust, rapport, and improve clinical outcomes. In light of these factors and the pandemic, the Adair Family Foundation is funding a $25,000 endowed scholarship at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, to address these issues - The Dr. Luther B. and Mrs. Claudia Adair Memorial Endowed Scholarship.
The scholarship will be awarded annually to a student in good standing at Meharry that has expressed an interest in both practicing in the mental health arena and practicing medicine in Nashville, Tennessee.
One of the namesakes of this scholarship, Claudia Adair, is mother to two Meharry Medical College alumni, Luther Bert Adair, II, MD, and Candace Adair, MD, FAPA. A retired special education teacher, Claudia worked for several years with children in the Nashville Public School System who were challenged with mental health issues. Having seen these issues overburden the school system firsthand, she understands the importance of African-American physician representation in the mental health field.
The second namesake of this scholarship, the family’s patriarch, Luther Bert Adair, Sr, MD, was a passionate supporter of the medical school, having served as Chairman of Meharry Medical College’s Radiology Department for nine years.
Meharry Medical College has been a leader in training African-American physicians and has a thriving psychiatry residency program. Two of Luther and Claudia Adair's children, Candace and Jonathan, work in the mental healthcare field.
Candace Adair, MD, FAPA, a graduate of Meharry Medical College who began her career training in Meharry’s psychiatry residency program, chose to subspecialize her medical practice in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Candace currently owns her own private psychiatry practice, Bene Wellness, PC in Atlanta, Georgia.
Jonathan Adair, MS, has a Master's Degree in counseling psychology and works to help homeless veterans obtain mental health care services through a non-profit organization in Nashville, Tennessee.
The Adair Family Foundation is a private family foundation started in 2016 by Luther Adair, II, MD and Rachael Adair whose mission is to provide resources for organizations providing education to students in the areas of science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics. For more information on this nonprofit organization, please visit http://www.theadairfamilyfoundation.org