Medical research matters to the health and well-being of every American. So it matters when leading healthcare academic journals put ideology, not new innovation or actionable information, at the heart of their work. Look no further than Health Affairs, one of the most respected publications in medicine, which has created a strategy to “dismantle racism” in medical research.
At the core of Health Affairs’ strategy is the obsession with the skin color of everyone involved in medical scholarship. Since the start of this year, it has required study authors and reviewers to answer “questions about their race, ethnicity, and gender.” The publication will soon issue statistical reports on the racial and gender makeup of those involved in its work. Yet such race-based reporting goes well beyond medical research, nor does it advance the scholarship on which medical progress depends.
What’s more concerning is what Health Affairs is doing once the data is in hand. It plans to select study reviewers and commission new papers based on people’s race, which runs counter to the purpose of the publication. The determining factor in such decisions should be expertise, not identity. Yet under the radical and divisive ideology of “anti-racism,” identity is more important than anything else.
Whether it’s Health Affairs or any other medical journal, the focus should be on empowering physicians to deliver better treatments and care to their patients. Choosing reviewers and study authors based on skin color will not advance a noble and necessary goal. And ultimately, giving in to activists’ demands will hold back the medical progress that Americans deserve.
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