Tulane med school placed on accreditation probation following racial discrimination lawsuit

Tulane University School of Medicine was put on accreditation probation following a lawsuit alleging racism in promotional practices.

The School of Medicine has several diversity, equity, and inclusion programs.

Tulane University School of Medicine was placed on accreditation probation following allegations of racism.

Local news outlet WDSU reported that Dean L. Lee Hamm sent a letter to students and faculty on July 3 to notify them that the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education had put the program on probation.

“The clear message from the ACGME is that we can and must do more to improve the oversight of our GME programs while also improving our learning and working environments, including enhancing equity, diversity, and inclusion for everyone in our community,” reads the letter as provided to Campus Reform by Tulane University spokesman Michael Strecker. 

According to an ACGME statement provided by spokesperson Susan White to Campus Reform, the group “became aware of public reports of racial bias and discrimination in graduate medical education program sponsored by Tulane University School of Medicine.”

“These reports were reviewed through the ACGME’s internal processes and resulted in a Sponsoring Institution site visit on April 14, 2021, and an internal medicine program site visit on April 19, 2021,” it continued. “Currently, Tulane’s internal medicine program has an accreditation status of Continued Accreditation with Warning. A status of Continued Accreditation with Warning can be conferred if a Sponsoring Institution or program has areas of non-compliance that may jeopardize its accreditation status.”

ACGME stated that the specific details of the probation are confidential.

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The move comes after Dr. Princess Dennar sued the university for “creating a race and gender-based hostile environment” in October. The lawsuit claims Hamm told Dennar that the medical school “didn’t want to change the face of Tulane” with her in a leadership position.

Dennar told NBC News that an internal ranking system for students disadvantaged alumni of historically Black colleges because “they were burdened with not having an equitable educational experience in comparison to their white counterparts.”

A GoFundMe established by Dennar — which states that “the perpetual annihilation of careers of Black professionals who speak up for justice should not be normalized” — has so far raised nearly $62,000.

[RELATED: Tulane hosts anti-racism teach-in with profs divided by race]

Despite the ACGME’s decision to place it on probation, the School of Medicine runs several diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.

For instance, the Leadership Development Initiative “focuses on women and individuals from backgrounds underrepresented in medicine, and includes support for multiple initiatives for faculty (in addition to students, trainees and staff) to promote leadership skills, career growth, and expansion of professional networks.”

Meanwhile, the Pathways to Promotions Program includes “annual seminars, workshops, and one-on-one sessions for faculty who have not been promoted within the past five years, with a focus on women and  individuals from backgrounds underrepresented in medicine.”

Campus Reform reached out to Tulane University, the ACGME, and Dennar for comment; this article will be updated accordingly.

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