Do No Harm recently spoke with Dr. Cindy Basinski, a practicing physician and medical educator in Indiana. She’s deeply worried about Indiana University School of Medicine, her alma mater. IUSM is one of the most radicalized medical schools in the nation. Dr. Basinski told us what’s at stake:
Every day, I talk with medical students and faculty at the IU School of Medicine. Their backgrounds and beliefs differ, but they all share the same concern. They see firsthand that IUSM is undermining medical education with divisive ideology. It’s creating a culture of fear and self-censorship that harms them and, ultimately, patients across Indiana and beyond.
IUSM is going the same route as most medical schools nationwide, though it’s arguably much further along the road. It has rallied around the ideology of “diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice.” Every medical student, educator, and physician I know is sympathetic to the goal of building trust and understanding among different communities and groups of people. But DEIJ goes much further, demanding conformity of views on campus.
Start with medical students. Before even getting into medical school, they are asked how they have promoted – or plan to promote – DEIJ objectives. Students have also told me about the politicized lessons they get in the classroom. IUSM is downplaying medical science and ethics in favor of politicized narratives about race and gender.
Students don’t dare disagree because they know it would destroy their chances of getting into residency programs they desire. They are completely dependent on recommendations from IUSM faculty, so they silence themselves for their own protection.
Faculty are also suffering. They cannot question the tenets of the DEIJ agenda, lest they be punished by administrators. Even worse, IUSM faculty are now required to show how they’ve advanced DEIJ in order to secure tenure or promotion. Whereas students are being forced into silence, IUSM faculty are being forced to be complicit with the corruption of medical education.
This runs counter to the purpose of medical education, the principles of medical science, and the pursuit of medical progress. The most incredible advances in medical history happened because students and faculty pushed the bounds of knowledge and questioned received wisdom. If faculty and future physicians aren’t exposed to a wide variety of views, or even free to share their own perspectives, they won’t move medicine forward. Patients will suffer.
Going public was a hard choice, but I know that staying silent jeopardizes the future of medicine. I’m speaking out for the countless students and faculty who cannot speak for themselves. IUSM is engaged in coercion at its worst, because it affects not only students and staff but the healthcare system in Indiana.
We need our lawmakers to help restore balance in medical education. I urge our Governor and General Assembly to recognize what’s happening and reform IUSM and all of Indiana’s higher education. Now is the time to protect the free speech rights of students and faculty alike. Now is the time to refocus medical and higher education on actual education, not divisive ideology. Hoosiers’ health depends on it.Cindy Basinski, MD, FACOG, FPMRS, Adjunct Faculty Member at IUSM
Do No Harm is grateful to Dr. Basinski. Here’s hoping divisive ideology is driven from the Indiana University School of Medicine as soon as possible.
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