Yale profs suggest methods for screening 'racism' in med school admissions

A team of Yale Medicine professors developed a set of suggestions for identifying racist medical school applicants.

The process involves essay prompts about race, tasks that ask applicants to address discrimination, and minority-led interviews.

Yale University School of Medicine professors are proposing methods of screening for racists in university admissions.

An article in the Journal of General Internal Medicine by Psychiatry Resident Nientara Anderson, Professor Dowin Boatright, and Professor Anna Reisman titled “Blackface in White Space: Using Admissions to Address Racism in Medical Education,” points out that half of White medical students affirmed false statements about biological race, including the misconception that Black people have higher quantities of the protein collagen in their skin than White people.

“Given the long history and pervasive nature of racism in medical culture, this essay argues that diversifying efforts alone cannot address systemic racism in medical education,” says the article’s abstract. “We propose that medical educational institutions make a more concerted effort to consider racial attitudes and awareness as part of the admissions process as well as curricular reform efforts.”

The authors propose “a more direct way to address racism” — namely, “stop admitting applicants with racist beliefs,” which they immediately admit is a “complex task.”

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The article advocates for reforms that would filter supposedly racist applicants. Namely, they recommend using short questionnaires to identify “significantly uninformed individuals.”

Additionally, the authors suggest that application essays, which would ask students to respond to “selected passages by prominent scholars on race and medicine, such as Dorothy Roberts or Harriet Washington.” They also consider interview questions, which could be similar to the essay prompts.

The authors are open to interviews conducted by minority community members, as well as interview prompts that ask the applicant to respond to discrimination. Finally, the authors suggest composing admissions committees that “include Chief Diversity Officers, expert consultants on race, and URM [underrepresented minority] faculty and students.”

“Medical schools must take active steps to diminish the prevalence of racism in future medical students and doctors,” conclude the authors. “It is a detriment to our profession and to our patients to merely lament the racism we find in our ranks while doing nothing to prevent it in the first place.”

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Anderson wrote in an email to the Yale Daily News that “racism on the wards is so commonplace as to be expected as a matter of routine.” She believes that racism is built into the fabric of the United States medical system.

Campus Reform reached out to Yale University and the article’s authors; this article will be updated accordingly.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @BenZeisloft