The American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine’s (AACOM) accrediting body is doubling down on diversity, equity, and inclusion policies even though the U.S. Supreme Court ruled race-based admissions policies and practices are unconstitutional. This is just more evidence that medical schools plan to prioritize radical ideology in academic curricula and culture.
Osteopathic schools, which confer the D.O. (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine) degree, have a similar accreditation process that traditional allopathic schools (which confer the M.D. degree) have. The AACOM has the same level of influence over osteopathic schools that the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has over allopathic schools, and develops similar accreditation standards.
The recently revised standards approved by the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA) became effective August 1. All Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (COMs) must comply with the standards by July 1, 2024, and they make numerous references to meeting goals for diversity, equity, and inclusion. Examples include:
- A COM must include a commitment to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in its mission, values, vision, goals, or objectives.
- A COM must produce and publish a current strategic plan addressing all core aspects of the COM mission, including the advancement of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).
A COM and any associated branch “must designate an individual with responsibility for oversight of DEI initiatives of the COM.”
So important is DEI to AACOM, that COMs are also required to submit a copy of the DEI leader’s job description and curriculum vitae to COCA.
The COCA standards mandate that, to achieve accreditation, COMs “must have space available for use by students in a manner intended to support diversity, equity, and inclusion, and must consult with students in the process of establishing such a space.”
The schools must also provide a description of “how the COM assesses the adequacy and efficacy of facilities intended to support diversity, equity, and inclusion, including how students are involved in the assessment.”
COCA further requires that, for accreditation, COMs “must have an Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) (or similar) that supports students, faculty, and staff, and the COM’s efforts to promote recruitment, retention, and success of its students, faculty, and staff throughout the osteopathic medical education program.”
Osteopathic schools of medicine “must incorporate diversity, equity, and inclusion into its curriculum,” COCA states, adding as well that COMs “must offer DEI training to employed faculty and staff at least annually.”
COCA asserts that its standard for student evaluation of instruction requires the COM to demonstrate that student assessments are “incorporated into the COM’s self-assessment to improve curriculum, including that which promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion; and address deficiencies in student experiences.”
These standards show how far afield major medical gatekeepers have gone from their core focus, which should be helping train the best and brightest doctors of tomorrow.
On the same day the Supreme Court released its ruling on affirmative action policies and practices, AACOM published a press release titled “Osteopathic Medical School Graduates Increase in Racial and Gender Diversity,” boasting about its increases in Hispanic, American Indian, and black osteopathic medical school graduates, and vowing to continue DEI political activism as a primary goal of the organization.
“[W]e know there is more work to do to ensure that our future physician workforce represents all our communities,” Robert A. Cain, DO, president and CEO of AACOM, said, stressing the importance of the political identities of the future doctors rather than competency to provide excellent medical care.
“We are proud of the rich osteopathic tradition of inclusion,” Cain added, touting further his DEI ideology. “It is one of our foundational pillars and we will continue to work with our colleges to recruit and educate as diverse a class of graduates as possible.”
Dr. Stanley Goldfarb, Do No Harm Chairman and former associate dean of curriculum at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, warned in November 2022 of what is at stake for the future of American medical care if medical schools remain more intent on producing doctors who “represent all our communities” rather than ones who are skillful at identifying and treating illness and disease.
Dr. Goldfarb noted in an op-ed at the New York Post how medical schools are sacrificing sound medical education of future physicians in order to achieve such a high level of wokeness.
Medical schools, for example, are using their “precious resources” to push their divisive ideology, he asserted, when such funds and clout could be spent on medical training.
“More than 40% of medical schools offer tenure and promotions to faculty who conduct DEI scholarship,” Dr. Goldfarb added. “The message to current and potential faculty is clear: If you want to advance in your career, you better toe the party line. Yet politicizing faculty research will worsen, not improve, medical education and care.”
Taxpayers, he wrote, are actually “paying administrators who fixate on applicants’ skin color,” and observed such continued focus on DEI ideology – instead of education and training – will ultimately lead to substandard quality of care.
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