AMAC Exclusive – By Claire Brighn
While Critical Race Theory, gender ideology, and left-wing “equity” principles have long been a staple in law schools and graduate-level humanities programs, they now appear to be taking over medical schools as well. In addition to undermining the basic principles of fairness and meritocracy which once determined medical school admissions decisions, this alarming development raises the frightening possibility that the doctors and surgeons of the future will be more knowledgeable about left-wing political dogma than how to care for their patients.
In a normal year, fewer than half of undergraduate students applying to medical school will be admitted to at least one school – and for good reason. Americans have come to expect that only the best and brightest earn those coveted slots to become the next generation of medical professionals.
But now, academic achievement and demonstrated intelligence are taking a back seat to left-wing demands for “equity” in admissions decisions; in other words, schools are basing acceptance on irrelevant factors including an applicant’s race or sex. The clearest example of this is the fact that more than 40 schools have entirely dropped the MCAT standardized test as a requirement for admission, citing concerns of “racial bias” in scores – even though the test measures objective knowledge of subjects such as chemistry and biology. Known for its “complex material, long hours, and the weight it carries in […] medical school applications,” the MCAT has been in use since 1947 as an unbiased way to measure a student’s aptitude for the medical profession.
Dr. Stanley Goldfarb, former Associate Dean of the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, has warned that the consequences of dropping the MCAT could be dire indeed for quality of patient care. In an opinion piece for Newsweek in July, Dr. Goldfarb outlines three recent studies that all point to the same conclusion – a strong correlation between success on the MCAT and success in residency programs. There are also studies that show MCAT scores correlate with performance on U.S. Medical Licensing Exams – but even this three-part test, which grants prospective doctors the legal authority to treat patients, is being watered down in the name of fighting “systemic racism.”
For the offense of suggesting that merit, not race, should be the determining factor in who gets into medical school, Dr. Goldfarb was pilloried by the academic medical community, a clear warning sign to any other doctors who might feel similarly to stay quiet. Dr. Goldfarb’s former employer, the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, called his statements “harmful and damaging.”
Along with the admissions process, medical school curriculum has also become increasingly consumed by the “equity” agenda. In July, for example, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) – which sets the standards for medical education – released curriculum competencies requiring an understanding of “intersectionality,” “white privilege,” “microaggression,” and “allyship.” The competencies further ask that students be able to “identify systems of power” including “white privilege, racism, sexism.” Many top medical schools are also getting rid of the elite academic honor society Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) because it is allegedly unfair to “underrepresented” students and purportedly “racist” for requiring a certain GPA to gain admission.
Once hopeful doctors graduate, they are faced with another barrage of demands from the woke medical mob. The American Medical Association – the largest physician association, founded in 1847 – last year released a sweeping “organizational strategic plan to embed racial justice and advance health equity.” Under the section “Equality,” it shockingly says: “Seeking to treat everyone the ‘same’ ignores the historical legacy of divestment and deprivation through historical policy and practice of marginalizing and minoritizing communities.” In other words, the AMA says, doctors should treat patients differently based on race – a clear violation of the Hippocratic Oath.
In another instance, at its 2020 Conference, the American Academy of Pediatrics’ featured speaker was none other than Ibram X. Kendi – a leading Critical Race Theory scholar who has no medical background. Kendi told pediatricians to consider racism a “diagnosis,” usurping the medical term for ideological purpose. In an even more disturbing development, the AAP is also now encouraging pediatricians to embrace “gender-affirming care” – left-wing jargon for prescribing puberty blockers to minors (which permanently impair normal sexual function) and performing irreversible sex change surgeries on gender confused children.
This leftward lurch in the medical community has been encouraged and in some cases required by Democrats in Washington. Last year, for example, the Biden administration issued guidance putting Americans first in line to receive monoclonal antibodies based on “race and ethnicity.” The Biden administration has also used questionable tactics to move the needle in private practice. Last year, Biden’s Health and Human Services implemented a rule whereby doctors could earn bonuses if they created “anti-racism plans” in their clinics to “reflect changes in medical practice.” And in March, the Biden administration endorsed sex-change surgeries and hormone therapy for minors, going so far as to legally threaten doctors who refuse to support such radical interventions.
Undoubtedly as a consequence of these policies, the United States, once the worldwide leader in medical research, has slowly lost its competitive edge to other countries. With medical students, physicians, and researchers preoccupied with social justice, race, and equity considerations, less time is spent learning how to identify diseases, conduct research, and prescribe treatment.
Unfortunately, the real losers of this woke crusade are the patients – of all races – who just want to be treated equally by doctors devoted to keeping them healthy, not to an ideological agenda.
Claire Brighn is the pen name of a conservative researcher and writer with previous domestic and foreign policy experience in the Executive Branch.
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