Whew! It looks like I retired from medicine just in time! Otherwise, I might have to go back to medical school to learn the latest “woke” thinking on the practice of medicine.
It seems that “wokeism” has now infected everything. For those of you uninformed, “wokeism” is the latest word concocted by our culture to describe political correctness. In a fascinating book called Woke, Inc., Vivek Ramaswamy tells us how this movement of political correctness is infecting the corporate world as business now pledges allegiance to their “stakeholders” instead of their shareholders. This movement threatens our democracy, as well as our economic future.
Now, it seems, the same movement is taking over the world of medical education. In a rush to fall in line with the progressive thinking that created “wokeism,” many in the field of medicine and medical education are pushing the same agenda. This movement threatens the future of the medical profession and the lives of millions of Americans.
Dr. Stanley Goldfarb is a former associate dean of curriculum at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine. Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Dr. Goldfarb says healthcare is being infected by the radical ideology that has corrupted education and public safety. He says while critical race theory and crime waves have been in the news, the public is largely unaware of medicine’s turn toward division and discrimination. Americans deserve to know that their health and well-being are at risk.
The premise behind all this radical new thinking is that healthcare is systemically racist – that most physicians are biased and deliver worse care to minorities.
In my 47 years of formal medical education and practice, I have never encountered any evidence of that last statement. In fact, I would challenge anyone to prove that such a statement is backed by any facts. I can say without reservation that the practice of medicine in this country is probably freer from racial bias than any other profession.
Dr. Goldfarb says health disparities do exist among racial groups, but physician bias isn’t the cause. He says the psychological test at the root of this narrative, the 1998 Implicit Association Test, has been widely discredited, and he agrees with me that his long experience as a medical educator and practitioner has shown him that physicians address the needs of each patient, regardless of skin color.
It seems that the medical elites of the academic world are behind this movement. Goldfarb says, “The National Library Medicine database shows more than 2,700 recent papers on “racism and medicine,” which generally purport to show physician bias leading to racial disparities in health outcomes. Yet the most commonly cited studies are shoddily designed, ignore such critical factors as pre-existing conditions, or reach predetermined and sensationalized conclusions that aren’t supported by reported results. These papers in turn are used to source even more shoddy research. This is a corruption of medical science in service to political ideology.”
“Prominent medical journals are complicit in the crusade against medical professionals. The New England Journal of Medicine touts its “commitment to understanding and combating racism as a public health and human rights crisis,” while Health Affairs is implementing a strategy to “dismantle racism and increase racial equity” in healthcare. They publish piece after piece calling, explicitly or implicitly, for a fundamental change in the medical profession. They’re also bringing race and other nonacademic factors into the peer-review process, threatening the scientific analysis on which physician practice and patient health depend.”
This really should come as no surprise when you consider it is the academic community at large that has moved our country to the political left. The academic elites at our most respected schools of higher education have been pushing a progressive agenda for many years. Now they have spread their influence even to the world of medical education. This will have a profound impact on our culture, but more importantly upon the training – and medical practices – of our future doctors. This can’t be good for our health as a country.