Must Read: A Letter From A Medical School Faculty Member

Do No Harm received this letter from a clinical faculty member at University of Washington School of Medicine. We are keeping the person’s identity secret for their professional protection.

May 31, 2022

To Do No Harm,

I am a physician on the clinical faculty of our local medical school. I have been quite concerned about recent developments at the school, which recently opened an “Office of Healthcare Equity.” At least some of it appears to be agenda driven, hijacking and distracting the focus of the school from evidence-based medicine into the social realm. 

Recently, following the tragic shooting in Buffalo by a racist man who targeted African Americans, the following was sent out by the Office:

Please join the Office of Healthcare Equity in affinity groups for our BIPOC colleagues and a caucus for our white colleagues who want to stand in solidarity with BIPOC colleagues… These sessions will offer a safe space, respite and community to process and support one another following the racially motivated shooting in Buffalo, New York… We will join as one group at the start and then meet in breakout rooms based on identity (Black, People of Color and White). 

In response to this invitation, I sent this anonymous note to them: 


I am a faculty member at UW Medicine. I am writing from an anonymous account because I do not trust my professional safety were I to disclose my name. 

This is prompted by the upcoming affinity groups that the school is organizing and promoting. 

I will state unequivocally that the shooting in Buffalo was horrific and driven by unacceptable beliefs that we as a society must confront and deal with. 

But I am not supportive of this selective horror being a focus of organized efforts on the part of the school. Staying in our lane of medical education is demanding enough. There are innumerable injustices and causes that warrant attention by society, but is the school the right place and if so, why stop there? 

Furthermore I believe that organizing groups on the basis of personal identity is racist, divisive and not appropriate for any tax supported institution. 

Much more can be said about the Office of Healthcare Equity, as I have real concerns about an outsized influence and agenda setting that may not suit the school or society in the short and long-term, but which few are willing to call out. 

I found myself wondering when you offered up an opinion and action on this tragedy, if you will consider similar interventions the next time a group of people are murdered based upon hatred of their group. This could include but sadly is not confined to:

Antisemitic attacks on synagogues or individual Jews.

– Attacks on Asian identified individuals based upon their origins.

– Attacks on gays and lesbians.

– Misogynistic attacks on women.

– Perhaps expanded attention to genocides and religious and gender persecution in China, the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere.

I do not expect a response to this as I am sure this sort of message does not sit well with some at the school, though I suspect that I am not alone. 

Thank you for your attention and careful consideration. 

– A faculty member

I respect my profession and have been in practice for decades. The above is one of several grievances I have experienced of late at my school that cause great concern. I am grateful that Do No Harm has been organized, to among other things, call out racial divisiveness and social agendas contaminating our valuable profession.

– A Concerned Physician