The Association of American Medical Colleges wants medical schools to discriminate on the basis of race. That’s the reality of the amicus brief the AAMC just filed with the Supreme Court. The case is Students for Fair Admission v. President and Fellows of Harvard College, but every medical school in the country will be affected by the outcome. The Supreme Court must side against racial discrimination.
The AAMC supports Harvard’s system of preferential treatment (i.e., discrimination) for applicants in its Supreme Court brief. No wonder: Most medical schools are moving to prioritize some racial and ethnic minorities applicants over others. Yet the AAMC’s claimed scientific and medical grounds for such overt discrimination are non-existent.
In its brief, the AAMC asserts that “diversity is vital to healthcare outcomes.” This assertion reflects the woke belief in “racial concordance,” which involves patients seeing physicians of the same race, ethnicity, or gender. To achieve such concordance, the argument goes, medical schools need to recruit more diverse students. In support of this extraordinary claim – which essentially justifies segregation in healthcare – the AAMC cites two studies without telling the true story.
The first study involved a survey of University of Virginia medical students on their attitudes about the biologic characteristics of black and white patients. It found that 50 percent of medical students thought, erroneously, that black patients have fewer nerve endings and thicker skin than White patients and therefore would perceive less pain. Yet the AAMC doesn’t note that only first and second-year students made this mistake. The University of Virginia successfully corrected these students’ error, helping them provide the best care to black patients.
The second study regards racial concordance between black babies and black neonatologists, yet the AAMC doesn’t acknowledge its widely identified flaws. First, the study authors could not identify the race of all the doctors involved in the care. Second, patient outcomes depended on the team caring for the patient. If an emergency occurred at 3 a.m., it was not the attending physician who cared for the patient, but rather nurses and on-call physicians. Third, the data didn’t account for physicians who transferred the sickest babies to academic hospitals, which involves higher mortality due to underlying conditions. This information was not factored into the study, discrediting its conclusions.
Most importantly, the AAMC completely ignores the large body of literature that contradicts the claim that doctor/patient racial concordance leads to better clinical outcomes. Notably, a large 2011 study used a database of 22,000 patients to show that racial concordance between doctors and patients does not produce meaningful improvements in health outcomes.
Add it all up, and what do you get? The AAMC is baselessly justifying racial discrimination in medical school admissions, while dangerously promoting racial segregation in medical practice. Hopefully the Supreme Court will see through this charade and ensure that medical schools admit students based on skill, not skin color.
Read the full piece at Do No Harm here.