A slide presentation authored by East Carolina University (ECU) diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) deans shows the prominent role awarded to DEI philosophy and Critical Race Theory (CRT) in the school’s medical education.
Documents obtained by Do No Harm via a Freedom of Information Act request (FOIA) show Cedric Bright, M.D., ECU Brody School of Medicine vice dean for medical education and admissions, and an interim associate dean for diversity and inclusion, engaged in discussions with colleagues both immediately before and on the day of (June 29) the release of the Supreme Court’s decision affirming that race-based admissions practices are unconstitutional.
The emails show that Bright, who, according to the school’s website, is also among ECU’s DEI “researchers and practitioners,” was anticipating his presentation at a conference in New Orleans for National Medical Fellowships (NMF), of which he is a member of the board of directors.
Before and after the release of the Court’s ruling, Bright conversed with Kema Gadson, Ed.D., Brody associate dean for student affairs, about possible slides that could be included in his presentation. On June 27, Gadson shared a link to a PowerPoint that had been “used for our Council on Diversity & Inclusion Orientation Session (CoDI).”
“We called it Live the Mission since everyone should be working towards living the mission as student, faculty, and staff,” Gadson wrote.
The slide presentation, co-authored by Irma Corral, Ph.D., assistant dean for diversity and inclusion, was divided into two parts: (1) “’Unpacking’ the social determinants of health [SDoH]” and reviewing “key concepts of culture, rurality, and racism in medicine;” and (2) “Discuss academic medicine today and what we need to do next to approach equity.”
Notes that appear to be included in the PowerPoint also assert that “racial disparities in health outcomes in the United States” often lead to medical providers learning “faulty assumptions” that individuals belonging to certain racial groups are responsible for their poor medical outcomes.
Equity “involves moving away from thinking of Race as the cause of health disparities (blames the impacted population), and moving towards understanding the social processes that are the actual cause (contextualizing disparities),” one slide claims.
“Having good health doesn’t just happen … Social factors create significant hurdles,” another set of slides states, and adds, “Hurdle free society when equity is achieved.”
In other words, individual people cannot take responsibility for their own health because systemic racism, and the lack of “health equity,” prevent them from doing that.
“Interpersonal bias training” and “systemic anti-racism training,” are necessary to train the workforce in order to achieve equity, the presentation continues. Another slide features a cartoon supposedly showing that some people have great social hurdles to overcome in order to be healthy.
Notes added to explain the CRT-like message of the cartoon reference Dr. Joy DeGruy, author of the book Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America’s Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing, who describes the “syndrome” on her website:
It is a condition that exists as a consequence of multigenerational oppression of Africans and their descendants resulting from centuries of chattel slavery. A form of slavery which was predicated on the belief that African Americans were inherently/genetically inferior to whites. This was then followed by institutionalized racism which continues to perpetuate injury.
The slide show presenters added their own notes:
The ball and chain are the vestiages [sic] of slavery known as Post traumatic slave syndrome by Dr. Joy DeGruy. The land mines are poor public schooling and crowed [sic] housing, barbwire represents indifference of teachers and subtle bigotry of low expectations, the alligator can represent personally mediated racism and social barriers, the brick wall, institutional racism [sic] such standardized testing unequal pay, job discrimination, and the final pit the internalized issues such as imposter syndrome, self fulfilling prophecy, and feelings of guilt.
The presenters continue to identify “barriers” to achieving health equity, referencing a greater need for what appear to be Marxist concepts. Such “barriers” include a society that is focused on the “individual,” with both “limited sense” of “interdependence” and “collective efficacy,” whereby “systems and structures” are “invisible” or “irrelevant.”
Health equity is further obstructed, according to the presentation, by
the “myth of meritocracy,” the concept that “if you work hard you will make it.” This concept, according to the presenters, is based on a “denial of racism,” and ultimately “fosters competition over cooperation” and “masks the costs of inequity.”
Another slide further casts “American exceptionalism” as a “myth,” and equates that concept with “disinterest in learning from others,” and a “sense of U.S. entitlement.”
“White supremacist ideology” is also viewed as a barrier to health equity, says the presentation.
The show’s authors further profess equity can’t be achieved because “White” is viewed as “the ideal and the norm,” and a “sense of ‘White’ entitlement” exists that causes the “dehumanization of people of color” and the “fear at the ‘browning’ of America.”
How are blatantly discriminatory and contentious claims like the statements of Vice Dean Bright of any value to the medical students at ECU Brody School of Medicine? Even worse, it reflects how the leadership at the medical school is dedicated to perpetuating absurd philosophies that aim to place people into identity groups instead of promoting sound science and facts. North Carolina taxpayers and policymakers must insist on an immediate end to the indoctrination of its future physicians.
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