Peer reviewed journals are entrusted to be truthful and reliable sources of medical information. Unfortunately, they are forsaking the principles of rigor and honesty in favor of political correctness. A recent and egregious example comes by way of Academic Medicine, the flagship journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).
In “SHARPening Residency Selection: Implementing a Systematic Holistic Application Review Process,” the authors begin with the premise that “Traditional metrics used in residency application review processes are systematically biased against applicants from minoritized communities that are underrepresented in medicine (URiM).” They use this premise to launch a screed against traditional medical school admission metrics (e.g., GPA and MCAT scores) and in favor of a “holistic” admissions process.
The charge that traditional metrics are “systematically biased” doesn’t have a citation. That’s because it’s not true. In psychometrics, “bias” refers to the idea that a test could have different validity for one group compared to another. The MCAT would be biased, for example, if it was worse at predicting persistence through medical school among Asians compared to whites. A review of the literature shows “no evidence” of bias in the MCAT exam.
The authors are making a value statement—the belief that unequal outcomes are proof of unequal treatment—and conflating it with a factual claim. That a journal published by the AAMC would place narrative ahead of fact is disheartening, but it isn’t surprising. The organization embarrassed themselves in committing sloppy factual errors in service to opposition to the Supreme Court’s ruling on race-based college admissions.
The AAMC claims that they are committed to combating medical misinformation. Unfortunately, the fireman is also the arsonist.
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