The University of Kansas Medical Center School of Medicine (KUSOM) is requiring students to meet “diversity objectives and competencies” through assignments that demand a focus on “social determinants to health,” including patient claims of having experienced “systemic racism,” say Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) documents obtained by Do No Harm.
Even following the Supreme Court’s ruling in June that found race-based admissions practices to be unconstitutional, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) at KUSOM is touting its dedication “to recruiting, retaining and promoting diversity and health equity among its students and faculty.”
“Health equity” is a narrative of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) ideology, which, based in Critical Race Theory (CRT), claims “systemic racism” and “oppression” prevent minority individuals from obtaining health care. According to the radical dogma, achieving “health equity” is dependent upon a “diversity” of races and ethnicities in the healthcare workforce.
Through its focus on DEI practices, KUSOM claims it “will become a national leader in inclusive excellence and health equity by purposefully mirroring the communities that we aspire to partner with and serve.”
As part of a Family Medicine Clerkship, for example, KU medical students are required to interview a patient facing a “social determinant to health,” a politicized label that places “mental health issues” and “physical disability” in the same category as “experiencing bias based on race, religion, gender, etc.”
The patient interview, the objectives say, can be conducted on “someone who has experienced stigma, negative stereotypes, discrimination, or violence based on religion, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, body size, physical or systemic powerlessness, medical or mental health problems.”
The assignment and samples of patient “stories” appear to serve the goal of creating an emotional impact on the medical students.
For example, the interview task requires medical students to turn in a “first-person voice” description of the patient they have interviewed – so that students must write the description as if they are the patient; a personal reflection of how the interview might “influence your future feelings, thoughts, or practice;” and a “power point slide with a meaningful visual image,” such as a “work of art, a symbol, a sports team, a building, or any image that enriches the story and enhances its memorability or emotional impact.”
Another diversity objective and competency requires the provision of “a forum for critical thinking about moral, cultural, legal, financial, and social issues in clinical medicine.”
The documents also indicate competencies required for graduation include:
a. Students will be able to incorporate social determinants of health to promote patient education and enablement of wellness regardless of patient or population based needs
b. Students will appreciate the influence of social determinants of health in various populations
A KUMC document titled “Curriculum Diversity Thread Objectives” states Year 1 medical students must meet a goal of “build[ing] a shared language around structures that promote inequity, their effects on health, and frameworks for exploring health outcomes.”
Students must be able to “define race, ethnicity, and culture, and their implications on health and health care;” to “explain why race is a social construct and the implication for racialized medicine and health outcomes;” and “define Health Disparity/Inequality.”
The “diversity objectives” also require students to define “structural vulnerability, intersectionality, structural violence and structural racism.”
Year 1 students must also be able to “identify the processes through which inequality is naturalized,” and examine “culture/stereotypes, individual implicit bias,” and “institutional bias.”
The influence of CRT on medical education continues at KUMC as Year 2 students are required to “understand and use” a “structural competency framework as a tool to unveil the influences of structures that promote inequity on patient health and healthcare practice.”
In Years 3 and 4, medical students at KUMC are required to identify and “imagine” structural “interventions,” i.e., be able to use the “tools” that allow doctors to “take action to address health and illness as the downstream effects of broad social, political, and economic structures.”
KUMC makes clear a primary focus of its CRT-inspired medical training is a thorough understanding of “inequity,” “structural racism,” and “social determinants to health.”
“Diversity is good, but it should never come at the expense of quality,” Do No Harm Chairman Stanley Goldfarb, M.D. warned, however, at National Review in October.
He explained while many minority individuals are highly qualified for admission to medical schools, still “a great many aren’t,” and “yet the powers that be are lowering standards to let them in.”
The Supreme Court has ruled that race-based admissions policies and practices are unconstitutional. Despite the fact that “poor academic performance in medical school is a predictor of poor performance in post-graduate clinical training,” Goldfarb nevertheless observed that “medical schools are still looking for ways to prioritize race and gender over academics.”
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