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John Livingston

Racism in Medical Education

Higher education has become obsessed with “woke culture.” I graduated from Medical School at THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY in 1976. Already at that time “sensitivity training” and cultural awareness programs were starting up. These were not in the basic or clinical sciences but could be found in Public Health Departments. The Department of Engineering at The Ohio State University was recently given an award and several grants because of their pioneering programs in cultural and equity awareness. Woke indoctrination in the humanities is a distraction and a waste of time. Read Dickens or Tolstoy or Aquinas or The Beatitudes if you want to understand about humanity and inhumanity. Frederick Douglas, Solzhenitsyn, and Milton may have some insights also. When it comes to building stuff—engineering classes, stick to the fact’s mam and use the appropriate pronouns please.

On Wednesday, July 25th the hypocrisy and hubris of the pseudo-intellectuals that have infiltrated the basic sciences and STEM undergraduate core studies reached a new level of self-righteousness. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) advised the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, the organization that accredits Medical Education programs, that programs “addressing diversity equity, and inclusion competencies” will be required for certification. Medical students will be required to master these competencies prior to graduation. Graduating aspiring doctors will be required to be fluent in concepts like “intersectionality—defined by the directive as “overlapping systems of oppression and discrimination in communities that are based on race, gender, and ethnicity. “What about communities that are based on “ability”?

There is no question in my mind that there is a relationship between race, sex, ethnicity, and disease. I recently went back to where I went to college as an undergraduate. I became reconnected with many of my former college football teammates, and we all commented on the fact that the number of our teammates that had passed away was disproportionately Black—we had about 25% Black players on our team and of the twelve that have passed away the majority were Black—two from Covid. But there were characteristics other than race that connected the teammates that had passed away. Several of them died under impoverished conditions. Two were extremely obese. Two had chronic drug problems and one fought alcohol addiction all his life. I am sure access to medical care was an issue, but that access seemed to me to be more determined by culture and economic conditions than on race. One of the players who passed on spent 4 months in the ICU at the Cleveland Clinic—can’t do much better than that—he was Black. He was very overweight when he started his ordeal and by the time, he passed he had lost over 100 lbs. He didn’t die from lack of access.

According to The Wall Street Journal who along with Newsweek commented on this story, “medical students will be expected to articulate how their own identities, power, and privilege (e.g., professional hierarchy, culture, class, and gender) influence interactions with patients as well as impact of various systems of oppression—colonization, white supremacy, acculturation, and assimilation.”

The relationship of heredity, diet, physical activity, how we chose to work and play, if we choose to use drugs or abuse alcohol or Marijuana, all have more of an impact on our health than anything else. If one is a native American or has a Hispanic background you may have a very high chance of developing Type 2 diabetes, but by watching what you eat the process can be slowed, despite the gene that you inherited. If you were Black, you will have a higher incidence of hypertension, prostate cancer and kidney disease—and sickle cell disease or trait. Homosexual sex is a risk factor for HIV and Hep C. There are many more examples of these types of racial and gender relationships to disease. Clearly, these relationships exist and are important to mitigate, but they are not an “excuse.” They are a reason for each person to take responsibility for their own health. As the Wall Street Journal points out rightly “systems of oppression as a standard of analysis could easily become medical fatalism.” A self-fulfilling prophecy. A reason for patients to not be accountable to themselves for their own health.

I want my doctor to be well versed in medicine. I do not care if my surgeon or internist looks like me or not. Same thing about my patients. Same thing about people who build bridges, or create electrical devices, or biochemists and pharmacologists that design new drugs, or my airplane pilot. I want the best person doing the job that they were trained to do to the best of their ability.

I don’t think I could get over the “low bar” of the (AAMC). I am fine with biochemistry, physiology, and anatomy. But what they are demanding of students when they pledge an oath to diversity inclusion and equity (DIE) is racist itself. As Mike Pence pointed out 2 days ago “Critical Race Theory is nothing more than State sponsored racism It should be opposed by every American of every race and every color in every school.”

We should make sure that in our undergraduate programs and in our professional schools in Idaho that receive either subsidies or grants from the people of Idaho that these types of programs and this type of “racism” is not practiced in Idaho. (CRT) and (DEI) programs are overt and blatant forms of racial indoctrination imposed on vulnerable students by guilty adults who are trying to mitigate and make an excuse for their own racism and prejudices, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone” and attend to the “plank in your own eye first” If we all followed just those two rules and may I add “Do unto others…” we would go a long way to practicing and not just talking about equity. Are we allowed to teach that stuff anymore?

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