New Century Scholars

The Academic Pediatric Association New Century Scholars Program is a mentorship program aimed at increasing the diversity of the academic general pediatric workforce


  • Racial and ethnic disparity in child health and health care is an increasingly important issue, particularly as US demographics become more diversified.
  • One approach to decreasing racial/ethnic disparities is to increase the number of minority pediatricians working in academic settings (i.e., education, research and clinical care).
  • One way to increase minority recruitment into academic careers is to provide role models and mentors to pediatric trainees during the time when career plans are being formed.

APA NCScholars© Program:

  • The program selects under-represented minority (URM) pediatric residents who have interest in pursuing careers in academic pediatrics (with specific interests in the areas of health disparities, social determinants, cultural competency, and minority child health & development) to become NCScholars©.
    • NCScholars© are recruited in the second year of residency, and continue in the program through the end of residency, as long as they remain in good standing.
  • NCScholars© are matched with junior and senior mentors who provide ongoing support to the scholar during residency, career planning, fellowship application process, and onward.
    • Junior Mentors: Fellows in training programs and junior faculty who have interests in the areas of racial/ethnic child health disparities, cultural competency, and minority child health and development, and who have a commitment to mentorship and the program goals.
    • Senior mentors: APA members who are educators or researchers working in the fields of racial/ethnic child health disparities, cultural competency, and minority child health and development, who have strong mentorship abilities and who have a commitment to mentorship and the program goals.
  • NCScholars© and their mentors meet during the annual PAS meetings, and continue contact throughout the year through email and phone.
  • NCScholars© receive a travel grant to attend the annual PAS meetings (including travel, room, and registration fees).
  • NCScholars© attend a special one day conference the day before the PAS meeting.
  • A dinner banquet is held honoring the NCScholars©, attended by APA leadership, fellowship directors, and guests.
  • NCScholars© are in contact with mentors and Program staff throughout the PAS meeting.
  • It is required that all NCScholars© attend the annual PAS meetings and the New Century Scholars Conference the day before the PAS begins. Residency programs are asked to help with residency scheduling so that the NCScholar© may attend.
  • Ongoing activities:
    • NCScholars© are provided free membership in the APA during their residency
    • Career counseling by program directors and mentors
    • Website and Listserv for NCScholars©
    • Support during fellowship application and post-residency career planning


Click here for more information and application


Chair of Membership, Diversity, and Inclusion:
Tumaini R. Coker, MD, MBA

V. Faye Jones, MD, MSPH, PhD

Rachel J. Thornton, MD, PhD

Article in Academic Medicine: New Century Scholars: A Mentorship Program to Increase Workforce Diversity in Academic Pediatrics

January 2016 Newsletter Article

Two New Co-Directors Selected for the New Century Scholars Program

We are excited to announce two new co-directors for the New Century Scholars (NCS) program.  V. Faye Jones and Rachel J. Thornton will start as co-directors in January, 2016.  A brief bio of each co-director is below:

V. Faye Jones is the Assistant Vice President for Health Affairs at the University of Louisville (UL). She is responsible for conceptualizing, defining and cultivating the diversity vision on the Health Sciences Center campus. She is a Tenured Professor in the Department of Pediatrics and serves as the Associate Division Chief for General Pediatrics.  She has multiple publications and has given presentations at regional, national and international venues. Dr. Jones is active in the community as well as in national organizations including the Family Scholar House. She received her B.S. from Western Kentucky University. She obtained her M.D. from the University of Louisville (UL) and subsequently received her M.S.P.H and Ph.D from UL.

Rachel J. Thornton is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. She is also a former New Century Scholar (2005-2007).  Dr. Thornton is committed to addressing disparities in health and healthcare and to advocating on behalf of underrepresented minority trainees at all levels of medical education. As a researcher, Dr. Thornton has NIH funding to conduct research focused on addressing racial/ethnic disparities in obesity and cardiovascular disease risk among children and adolescents. She has numerous publications. Moreover, she is a former White House Fellow.   She obtained her M.D. from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and her PhD in Health Policy and Management from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Currently, the Board position overseeing the NCS program is the Chair of SIGs and NCS. Starting in May, the NCS program will fall under the new board position - Chair of Membership, Diversity, and Inclusion. This new position will be filled by Tumaini Coker.

Chair of NCS and SIGs
Darcy Thompson, MD, MPH
University of Colorado
Anschutz Medical Campus - Mail Stop F561
Denver, CO 80045
Phone: (303) 724-7471

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