The American Medical Association Now Has a Plan to ‘Embed Racial Justice’

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Posted: May 20, 2021 9:00 AM
The American Medical Association Now Has a Plan to ‘Embed Racial Justice’

Source: spukkato/iStock/Getty Images Plus

The American Medical Association announced its “anti-racist” plan last week to “embed racial justice” in the medical community.

“Fulfilling the AMA’s mission to promote the art and science of medicine and the betterment of public health requires an unwavering commitment to equity and a comprehensive strategy for embedding racial and social justice within our organization and domains of influence,” the AMA says in introducing its three-year plan.

The organization notes that it will “aggressively push” five strategic approaches to reach health equity—"embed equity in practice, process, action, innovation, and organizational performance and outcomes; build alliances and share power via meaningful engagement; ensure equity in innovation for marginalized and minoritized people and communities; push upstream to address all determinants of health; and foster truth, reconciliation, racial healing, and transformation.”

The 86-page report titled “Organizational Strategic Plan to Embed Racial Justice and Advance Health Equity,” discusses the need to use critical race and intersectionality theories. Additionally, in an effort to reach equitable solutions in healthcare, the AMA states one goal as “ensuring just representation” of persons of color in medical school admissions, medical schools, and hospital leadership.

It goes on to reject the notion of meritocracy, particularly in medical schools and teaching hospitals.

“The commonly held narrative of meritocracy is the idea that people are successful purely because of their individual effort,” the AMA states. “Medical education has largely been based on such flawed meritocratic ideals, and it will take intentional focus and effort to recognize, review and revise this deeply flawed interpretation.”

Medical schools have adopted dramatic affirmative action policies in order to matriculate a “critical mass” of black applicants, who tend to score lower on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) than their white and Asian counterparts.

Lowering standards for those providing life-saving care could have dangerous consequences.

In 2015-2016, an MCAT score of 24-26 and a GPA of 3.20 to 3.39 was only good enough to gain admission to medical school for 8% of white people, but more than 56% of black people with those scores got in, according to an American Enterprise Institute review of AMA data.

Seventy percent of the time, administrators said a white person with an MCAT score of 27-29 and a GPA of 3.40-3.59 would not make a suitable doctor. But more than 80% of black people with those scores were admitted. (The Daily Wire)

The report is not limited to the field of medicine, however. A “Land and Labor Acknowledgement” statement follows the preamble. It states: “We acknowledge that we are all living off the taken ancestral lands of Indigenous peoples for thousands of years. We acknowledge the extraction of brilliance, energy and life for labor forced upon people of African descent for more than 400 years. We celebrate the resilience and strength that all Indigenous people and descendants of Africa have shown in this country and worldwide. We carry our ancestors in us, and we are continually called to be better as we lead this work.”

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The origins of the report date back to 2018, when the AMA adopted a report on health equity as part of its official policy. Then in 2019, the AMA launched a Center for Health Equity tasked with finding ways to “dismantle racism in our health system.”