A program at the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine (OUHCOM) is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) for illegal racial discrimination – and the school wasted no time in scrubbing its website of the evidence.
Offered in partnership with the Cleveland Clinic, the Physician Diversity Scholars Program “takes a proactive approach to building diversity” by being “open to all underrepresented minority medical students” at OUHCOM (archived page here). “Underrepresented minority for the Heritage College,” the website stated, “is defined as Black/African-American, Hispanic/Latino, Native American/Alaskan Native and pacific Islander/Native Hawaiian.”
Limiting eligibility to specific racial groups while excluding others violates Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race.
The modified webpage now says that the program provides “purposeful and meaningful health care interactions with community populations that are underrepresented in medicine.”
At the time the complaint was filed with the Cleveland OCR, the “How to Apply” page provided further evidence of OUHCOM’s intent to discriminate, reiterating the racial/ethnic groups that were eligible and instructing applicants to include a professional photograph (archived page here).
The cleanup was not as thorough on this page, as it still states, “The Physician Diversity Scholars program is open to all historically underrepresented students in medicine at Heritage College, Cleveland.” However, the specific racial/ethnic categories have been removed in the modified version.
Ohio taxpayers and the lawmakers who represent them must ask the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine why the school is willing to remove a discriminatory program only after a federal civil rights complaint is filed and an investigation is opened. Do No Harm will be monitoring for full resolution of our complaint.
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