Doctor Warns That Removing Merit From the Study of Medicine Will be Dangerous

2024-04-04 09:00:59

Roger B. Cohen, MD, teaches Medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine at U. Pennsylvania. He is sounding alarm bells about DEI in medicine.

He writes at the Tom Klingenstein blog:

The End of Merit in Med Schools Will Be Deadly

The United States enjoys a reputation as a bastion of excellence and scientific rigor in medical education. Our country also leads the world in medical progress and innovation. That has not always been the case. It is hard to imagine the backwardness of American medical schools before a man named Abraham Flexner set out to transform them into institutions built on rigorous science.

Flexner was a non-physician commissioned in 1910 by the Council on Medical Education and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching to analyze and improve a woefully inadequate medical education system. Flexner recommended closure of all but 31 of 155 American medical schools, which included 80% of the white schools (119 out of 148) and 71% of the black schools (5 out of 7).

Recently, Flexner has gone from hero to villain in the wake of the “woke” tsunami that has engulfed American medicine. In 2020, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) stripped the reformer’s name from its prestigious Abraham Flexner Award for Distinguished Service to Medical Education. David J. Skorton, AAMC’s president and CEO, admitted that “the Flexner report recommended valuable changes in medical education, many of which still have positive impact today.” Yet Skorton demurred:

But that report also contained racist and sexist ideas, and his work contributed to the closure of five out of seven historically Black medical schools. Our action today recognizes the long-standing negative impact of the Flexner report on the training of Black physicians and the health of the Black community in the United States.

A year later, a paper in the American Medical Association’s Journal of Ethics denounced the Flexner report’s “racist legacy,” charging that the reforms it inspired “damaged and marginalized historically Black medical schools.”

The anti-Flexner activists make the truly remarkable claim that Flexner’s recommendations to close shoddy schools gutted the ranks of future black physicians who would have rendered exceptional care to their fellow minority citizens. Of course, that is a pernicious fantasy. Bad medical schools and poorly educated physicians, regardless of race, never benefit patients. Quite the opposite. Better schools produce the best physicians who deliver the high quality medical care that everyone should receive. To claim that Flexner was motivated by a racist desire to deplete the ranks of capable black physicians is both preposterous and slanderous.

Read the whole thing.


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Doctor Warns That Removing Merit From the Study of Medicine Will be Dangerous


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