The Association of American Medical Colleges’ (AAMC) powerful dual role in overseeing the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) and cosponsoring the accrediting body for all medical education programs in the U.S. puts pressure on the schools to adopt its diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) agenda. Elite universities employ DEI proponents to embed this organization’s ideologies into all aspects of their programs, and the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine (Mizzou Med) is no exception.
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) documents obtained by Do No Harm show how Robin Clay, M.Ed., the manager for DEI initiatives at Mizzou Med, pushed out highly politicized AAMC events and trainings throughout 2022. According to his MU bio, “Robin is a passionate student advocate who is excited to train future, patient-centered, and socially conscious physicians.”
For example, Clay sought permission from Dr. Laine Walker, Associate Dean for Student Programs, to forward a message from an AAMC listserv regarding Discrimination Faced by Latina/o/x/e, Hispanic, of or [sic] Spanish Origin Identified Students/Alumni During Medical School/Residency Application Process. “May I distribute to my URM [underrepresented in medicine] group?” he asked Walker. AAMC was informing DEI officials of an upcoming needs assessment of “LHS+ medical students and alumni” to produce a report that would inform “best practices to reduce the burden of discrimination.”
Additionally, on September 1, Clay received an AAMC notice of an upcoming “GSA [Group on Student Affairs] Working Group on Medical Student Wellbeing Fall Community Call Series” event, which said that “the wellbeing of medical students depends on their learning environment, school structures and processes, and institutional culture.” “In this interactive session, presenters will discuss structural and systematic issues (p/f grading, asynchronous learning) and curricula that impact wellbeing,” the statement continues. “Participants will leave with practical tools to design and implement curricula using different teaching modalities at their home institution and to advocate for systemic and structural initiatives to support medical student wellbeing.” What this translates into is the lowering of academic standards in the name of perceived systemic inequities.
On the following day, Clay forwarded to his colleagues AAMC’s promotion of a CGSA “Community Call on Signaling and the Supplemental Application.” “This is a good community call that may help better advise our 4th year students,” Clay wrote. “I wonder if there are ways we can use this to improve diverse residents in our programs,” he added.
On November 30, 2021, he forwarded an announcement for a highly controversial webinar to a University of Missouri staff member asking, “How can we send this to the president…” The January 2022 webinar, titled Socially Accountable Admissions: Using a different lens to evaluate medical school applicants and promote workforce diversity, was presented by AAMC in cooperation with the UC Davis medical school.
As Do No Harm reported in June 2023, the presenters provided information to admissions officials, including statements that MCAT scores are of limited value and their use leads to “overrepresentation” of Asian physicians.
Mizzou Med currently demonstrates its ongoing alignment with AAMC’s DEI mission by designating “societal and cultural issues” as a component of the medical education program, establishing minimal academic standards for admission, and maintaining a robust DEI office.
Do No Harm will be monitoring the actions of Mizzou Med for their commitment to DEI instead of medical education in the months and years to come.
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