The University of Southern California (USC) Keck School of Medicine has made significant changes in the eligibility criteria for a discriminatory program as the result of a federal civil rights complaint and subsequent investigation.
In late 2022, we reported that the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) had opened a federal civil rights investigation of the USC Keck School of Medicine for its Diversity in Medicine Visiting Clerkship. Mark Perry, senior fellow at Do No Harm, filed a complaint last August against this program for illegal race-based discrimination in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The previous version of the program said it supports fourth-year medical student groups who are “traditionally underrepresented in medicine (URiM).” The USC Keck School of Medicine defined URiM as “black/African-American, Hispanic/Latino, Native American/Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander.”
The current version of the program shows that the race-based eligibility has been removed, and the clerkship is now open to all fourth-year medical students in good standing. “Consistent with our Notice of Non-Discrimination Statement,” the site states, “we welcome all applicants.”
The associated application does not ask for race/ethnicity, but does request a student’s “chosen pronoun.” The previous version of the clerkship did not refer to this application.
The OCR has informed Perry last week that the investigation into USC’s Keck School of Medicine has been resolved due to the revisions made following the opening of the investigation last December. “Since then, the University has revised the language on the webpages to indicate that the Award is targeted at medical students from diverse backgrounds,” the OCR said, “including students who are underrepresented in medicine, but is not restricted by race or ethnicity.”
“Overall, I would say that it’s a pretty thorough correction of USC’s Title VI violation,” Perry said, “and is exactly the type of correction we are looking for when we challenge a medical school’s legally indefensible racial discrimination.”
Have you seen fellowships or scholarships in U.S. universities with healthcare education programs that discriminate on the basis of race/ethnicity or sex? Do No Harm wants to hear from you.
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