Canadian Medical Schools Asked to Shift From “Medical Expertise” to Anti-Racism and Social Justice Training – JONATHAN TURLEY

There is a major controversy brewing in Canada over a proposal in the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons that schools shift from emphasizing “medical expertise” in favor of teaching “anti-racism” and social justice values.An organization of physicians called Do No Harm is opposing the recommendation of the interim report by the college’s Anti-Racism Expert Working Group.

The report states that the new emphasis should center around “values such as anti-oppression, anti-racism, and social justice, rather than medical expertise.” By “de-centering medical expertise,” the anti-racism experts suggest courses focusing on  “anti-racism,” “anti-oppression,” “social justice and equity,” “inclusive compassion,” and “decolonization.” That includes the perils of capitalism and other “power structures”:

“Anti-racism is deeply rooted in anti-oppression, which analyzes the world through the lens of power, including the historical and ongoing structures of racism, white supremacy, settler colonialism, heteropatriarchy, capitalism, ableism, classism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia and more. Anti-racism and antioppression call for action on the manifestations of oppression based on race, ethnicity, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, immigration status and more. “

In a separate report, the group has also opposed U.S. medical schools filtering out applicants who opposed DEI values. The group states that it found that “the admissions process at 50 of the top-ranked medical schools found that 36 asked applicants their views on, or experience in, DEI efforts” to “screen out dissenters.”

Most U.S. medical schools currently have some DEI and diversity courses incorporated into their curriculums. Some now give an alternative hippocratic oath pledging social justice and anti-racist action.

It is not clear how much of the traditional curriculum would be displaced under the recommendation in Canada. With a kid in his first-year of medical school at Georgetown, I am amazed at the overwhelming burden on these students in taking these medical courses. The first year curriculum seems an all-consuming effort to cover the basic medical jargon, training, and science. I cannot imagine shoe-horning other subjects into that dense coverage or what would be jettisoned to make room for the new emphasis.

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