DEI is bad for your health

The US healthcare system is sacrificing patient safety to fulfil woke quotas.

John Mac Ghlionn

Topics Identity Politics USA

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Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) has infected countless areas of American society, from academia to athletics. Now DEI has even found its way into the American healthcare system – and the consequences could be devastating.

In a memorandum published last month, Xavier Becerra, Joe Biden’s health and human services secretary, unveiled an audacious plan to address ‘racial inequities’ within the organ-transplant sector. This pilot scheme, targeting 90 out of America’s 257 transplant centres, introduces a controversial points-based framework for grading hospital performance. Facilities will receive a single point for any successful kidney transplant, for example, but thanks to a ‘health equity’ performance adjustment, 1.2 points will be awarded for transplants involving patients from a low-income background.

This scheme may look colourblind on the surface, but racial-identity politics has been baked into the initiative. According to the memo, 13 per cent of kidney-transplant recipients are African American, compared with 32 per cent of those on the waiting list overall. White Americans make up 61 per cent of recipients and 35 per cent of waitlisted patients. For Becerra, this is an ‘inequitable distribution of life-saving treatment’. Discriminating between patients based on their social class is supposed to help close the racial gap.

The obvious danger here is that the pilot scheme will simply encourage hospitals to shift their focus away from providing care in line with medical need. Transplant allocation should be determined by urgency, compatibility and the potential for successful outcomes, not social factors like race or income. Forcing those with urgent needs to wait longer for a new kidney, heart or liver will put them at risk and will likely lead to more complications. The scheme has the potential to quite literally cost lives.

This points-based initiative reflects the broadening influence of DEI across the entire American medical sector. The most alarming example of this can be found in medical schools, which have gradually integrated racial identity politics into their curricula and hiring practices. These institutions claim that doing so will rectify historic disparities and expand diversity. In practice, they undermine the primary goal of healthcare: providing the highest standard of care to patients.

Stanley Goldfarb, professor emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania’s medical school, has long been sounding the alarm on the consequences of DEI in medicine. In 2022, he warned that ‘anti-racism’ policies are lowering admission and teaching standards – undermining both medical proficiency and patient safety. Instead of recruiting the ‘best and brightest’, America is creating a generation of healthcare professionals who lack the necessary skills to deliver optimal, essential care.

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the body that represents medical schools, has been fueling this decline. In a 2022 report, The power of collective action, it highlighted the sweeping ‘success’ of its mission: 43 per cent of medical schools now have policies that specifically reward faculty for DEI-related scholarship and service; roughly two-thirds have diversity-based recruitment plans for hiring new faculty members; and nearly 100 per cent have admissions policies that require a diverse student body.

In the two years since this report was published, the anti-merit madness in medical schools has only intensified. Look no further than UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine, one of the best medical schools in the world. Its students typically have stellar academic credentials. But, as the Washington Free Beacon recently reported, that hasn’t stopped its dean of admissions, Jennifer Lucero, from prioritising diversity over merit.

Back in 2021, Lucero reportedly exploded in anger when colleagues voiced concerns about an under-qualified African-African applicant. ‘Did you not know African-American women are dying at a higher rate than everybody else?’, she allegedly asked one admissions officer. ‘We need people like this in the medical school.’

Faculty members at David Geffen claim that Lucero’s DEI policies have led to lower academic standards, which have in turn led to less qualified cohorts, struggling students and even increased failure-rates in standardised exams. Letting these underperforming students into hospitals will needlessly put American lives at risk.

For Americans in need of healthcare, DEI could well become a matter of life and death.

John Mac Ghlionn is a researcher and essayist. Follow him on X: @ghlionn

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Topics Identity Politics USA


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