We were the first to highlight that the American Board of Internal Medicine is falling prey to divisive identity politics. Yet despite our public campaign to call out this crisis, ABIM is rushing even further toward divisive and discriminatory ideology. That includes plans to force every ABIM-certified physician to answer “health equity” questions in their regular assessments.
A tipster recently sent us the details of ABIM’s latest moves. The prominent medical association is promising to address “racism in health care,” especially through the assessments that internal medicine specialists must take every 10 years. ABIM is wants to change them to “examin[e] our own potential bias and working to mitigate whatever we find,” and ensuring that they “do not create an unfair barrier for physicians to enter practice.”
ABIM will accomplish these goals by adding “health equity” questions to its assessments. It states: “By incorporating health equity questions on our exams in the future, we elevate the topic for practicing physicians and for organizations that are training physicians.” Yet health equity is an inherently politicized concept. It is based on the fact-free belief that healthcare suffers from “systemic racism” and requires race-based decision-making – i.e., racial discrimination – in response.
By taking this path, ABIM is pushing physicians to fixate on their patients’ race instead of their unique medical needs. Worse, it’s laying the groundwork for preferential care based on skin color – something that’s already moving forward elsewhere in healthcare.
What’s more, ABIM is asking its members to share “personal stories of how health inequities” have “affected you and/or your patients.” It will highlight these stories on its social media accounts, adding to the drumbeat of claims that healthcare is racist, and justifying its own attempts to put divisive ideology at the heart of internal medicine.
ABIM should be better than this. It’s not, and now the question is how far it will fall.
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