Attention, Congress: DEI practices may have disastrous impact on medical education

Attention, Congress: DEI practices may have disastrous impact on medical education

Attention, Congress: DEI practices may have disastrous impact on medical education

A Republican member of Congress says America's "golden age of medicine" may be in the rearview mirror now due to race-based acceptance in medical schools.

Americans who grew up hoping that their doctor was the smartest person in the examination room are in for a rude awakening, Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-Wisconsin) warns. The congressman's concerns over the impact of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in the country's medical schools were not soothed by Thursday's congressional hearing on the matter, far from it.

"I've had two doctors tell me that they feel the quality of medicine in this country peaked out about seven years ago because that was the point at which more and more of the people in the system were there for racial reasons," Grothman said on Washington Watch Thursday.

The House Committee on Education & the Workforce heard from Dr. Stanley Goldfarb, a former associate dean at the University of Pennsylvania's med school and a longtime critic of DEI practices in medical education. He used his opening statement to argue that DEI initiatives have a disastrous – and potentially deadly – impact on that education.

Too much focus from schools on politics

Goldfarb is now the board chair of Do No Harm, which represents physicians, nurses, medical students and patients with the goal of "keeping identity politics out of medical education, research and clinical practice." He told lawmakers that DEI initiatives are forcing schools to spend too much time on political issues and not essential medical training.

Grothman, Rep. Glenn Grothman

"That's certainly kind of what we heard today in that who gets into medical school is judged by an ethnic background, which is just ridiculous," Grothman told show host Tony Perkins. "It's horrible, even in a little liberal arts university if you're hiring your professors based on race, but in your medical school, my goodness … my whole life you hear it's the doctor who's supposed to be the smartest guy in the class."

DEI proponents claim that race is an important factor in healthcare for minorities. A study released by the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2023 "suggests that greater representation of black Primary Care Physicians in the PCP workforce is associated with improved survival-related outcomes for black individuals."

Goldfarb disagrees. He has long contended that medical schools are lowering admission standards to the detriment of quality care.

"I understand we need to give people more opportunities," he told the New York Post in 2022, "but there are some things you can't sacrifice. This focus on diversity means we're going to take someone with a certain skin color because we think they're okay, that they can do the work – but we're not going to look for the best and the brightest. We're going to look for people who are just okay to make sure we have the right mixture of ethnic groups in our medical schools."

Grothman said DEI hiring practices will ultimately hurt the people they claim to want to help.

"It means we are putting people through medical school, not based on who does best on the MCat, a standardized test to get the smartest people to be doctors, but rather getting some racial groups at the cost of quality. It's in particular harming people of color, the implication being you would rather have a person of your color than a good doctor," he said.

DEI efforts in medical schools aren't only about race but about transgender ideology too. That was a point made in Thursday's hearing.

"There are a lot of medical facilities today that are engaged in this gender-adjustment surgery, which is horrific beyond belief. Obviously, you are taught if you are a doctor in today's society that this is a wonderful, normal thing," Grothman said. "It's ridiculous that you're taught this in medical school."

Will robust DEI staffing affect donations?

Discussion at the hearing eventually turned to DEI budgets and staffing at public colleges and universities. Grothman said while academia has money to spend on DEI, budgets aren't a problem.

Speakers in the hearing "went through the different major universities – Michigan, Berkeley, Wisconsin – and the huge number of [DEI] people they had working there." Grothman shared. "As long as you have any of these people hired, I wouldn't give any money to a university because it means they have way too much money to waste."