‘Diversity to the Exclusion of Merit’: Physician Criticizes Woke Initiatives in Medical Schools

A flagship medical association that represents major medical schools nationwide has released a November 2022 report promoting woke culture in medical schools.

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) is a Washington-based nonprofit comprising 157 accredited U.S. medical schools; 14 accredited Canadian medical schools; approximately 400 teaching hospitals and health systems; and up to 80 academic societies.

The goal of the report, according to its executive summary, is to improve medical schools’ “climate and culture through collective administration of Diversity, Inclusion, Culture, and Equity (DICE) Inventory.”

“The DICE Inventory is a tool designed to aid leaders in conducting a comprehensive review of institutional policies, practices, procedures, and programs that contribute to a diverse, equitable, and inclusive (DEI) culture and climate for students, faculty, staff, and administrators,” the report states.

The report is based on 101 medical schools’ self-audit of DEI policies at AAMC’s prompting.

According to AAMC, the initiative emerged in response to “repeated calls” from the academic medical community for accountability “to accelerate meaningful change,” calls that were “renewed with a sense of urgency amid the novel coronavirus pandemic and growing public outrage over systematic racism.”

“It highlights areas of strength and practices that medical schools across the country can adopt to foster a diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture for their campuses,” the report states.

Discriminatory Initiatives

Dr. Stanley Goldfarb, board chair of the nonprofit watchdog organization Do No Harm (DNH)—an organization spotlighting woke ideologies that DNH says are cropping up in health care and draining resources from the practice of medicine—told The Epoch Times that the report examines how well schools are adhering to the AAMC’s proposed discriminatory initiatives.

According to Goldfarb, when medical schools prioritize these DEI programs, they sacrifice quality while opening the door to several ethical dilemmas.

Because of its essential limited scope based on a theoretical opinion, there are many staff and students who don’t agree and will be forced to either quit or compromise their values and go along with it by lying, he said.

DNH Program Manager Laura Morgan was fired from her position as a nursing professional development therapist in February 2022 for refusing to acknowledge her “racial, unconscious bias” in a training requirement to keep her job.

The other problem is DEI programs demand that one must agree with its theories not only to keep one’s job but to get promoted, Goldfarb said.

“Then, there is the fact that the push for diversity is coming at the expense of identifying the best and the brightest students to admit,” Goldfarb said. “There’s going to be students that aren’t going to get into medical school because of their skin color.”

Using DEI initiatives in pursuit of achieving better health outcomes for black patients by hiring more black doctors and treating black patients differently than white patients goes against the American ideal of equal opportunity, Goldfarb said.

“It also goes against the likelihood that they are going to be successful,” Goldfarb said. “They’ve created a solution without understanding the problem. So, if the nature of the problem is not bias and racism on the part of the health care workforce, then attempting to change the health care workforce’s attitude is not going to change the outcomes.”

AAMC Response

In a statement to The Epoch Times, AAMC said its member medical schools are obligated to address factors that drive racism and bias in health care and to prepare physicians who are culturally responsive.

“There is strong evidence that historically marginalized people and people who live in poverty disproportionately experience poor health and inadequate access to quality care,” AAMC said. “These inequities are often rooted in systemic discrimination, including racism, within the nation’s health systems that contribute to lower quality care.”

AAMC said it also has an obligation to support institutions in being diverse, equitable, and inclusive to support those goals.

“The DICE Inventory is a tool designed to aid leaders in conducting a comprehensive review of institutional policies, practices, procedures, and programs that contribute to a diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture and climate for students, faculty, staff, and administrators,” AAMC said. “Using the DICE Inventory helped medical schools identify areas for improvement for creating a holistic strategy where DEI is integrated into all operations and mission areas. Medical schools reported plans to use their findings from the DICE Inventory to begin making policy changes, inform their strategic planning, and support LCME accreditation documentation and ongoing improvement efforts.”

‘Diversity to the Exclusion of Merit’

Because evaluating medical schools in accordance with DEI standards has become a part of the accreditation process, it’s become inevitable that medical staff and students will have to at least pretend to accept a theoretical premise telling them that they are inherently racist, Goldfarb said.

The elimination of these initiatives, such as the DICE Inventory—which includes a rating of how politically active staff is—is critical for the future of the medical profession.

“Faculty should not have to discuss what their political ideas are in order to get promoted,” he said.

Secondly, implicit bias training to maintain or get one’s job must go, he said.

Thirdly, using race as a criterion of admission must once again become a custom of the past, Goldfarb said, despite the fact that organizations like AAMC are trying to drag them back into the present.

“This is one aspect of society that requires things to be done on a colorblind basis because we need the best available individuals to enter the health care workforce,” he said.

The problem with the whole conversation is that it’s based on the mistaken idea that there are only two constituencies in the room—the school and the student—while in fact there’s also a third, the patient, Goldfarb said.

“They are making this argument that what’s best for the health of the American people is that there be this focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion, which simply cannot be justified,” Goldfarb said. “If you focus on diversity to the exclusion of merit, then patients are at risk of not having the most qualified individual to provide them care.”

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