Esteemed medical journal calls for segregated med school
‘Especially as we seek to recruit more medical students who are BIPOC, we need to recognize [systemic racial] harm and encourage pedagogical approaches that support the needs of BIPOC learners,’ the authors argue.
An article published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine argues that medical students should be segregated based upon race during their education in order to better facilitate anti-racist medicine.
The article entitled “Racial Affinity Group Caucusing in Medical Education — A Key Supplement to Antiracism Curricula,” written by faculty and administrators at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) School of Medicine, contends that separating White and Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) medical students into racial affinity group caucuses (RAGCs) can play an essential “part of a broader antiracism and anti-oppression curriculum.”
Because of the “legacies of colonialism and racism” in medical training that have “historically centered White learners,” the authors of the article argue that extant medical school structures are “retraumatizing” for BIPOC students.
The article only examines RAGCs in medical education at UCSF and provides no quantitative or qualitative data on the effectiveness of the program in achieving its stated goals. UCSF School of Medicine did not immediately respond to Campus Reform’s inquiry regarding how long this program has been in effect.
The article states that RAGCs at UCSF are separated in to Black or African American, general people of color, and Whites.
“In a space without White people, BIPOC participants can bring their whole selves, heal from racial trauma together, and identify strategies for addressing structural racism,” the article states.
The authors argue that RAGCs are beneficial for students in different capacities.
The Black-only RAGC allows Black students to avoid the “experiences of micro- and macroaggressions, structural inequities, and isolating siloes in predominantly White institutions” while simultaneously allowing for “individual and collective expression of everything from joy to rage without fear of repercussion.”
By contrast, the authors note that White RAGCs “participants can learn to be thoughtful allies who are less dominating in integrated spaces, to elevate the voices and leadership of BIPOC colleagues, and to iteratively reevaluate their own internalized racism and sense of superiority that can obstruct antiracist commitment and action.”
Recently, the head diversity equity and inclusion (DEI) officer of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), David Acosta, argued that conservative views are “getting in the way” of doctor-patient relationships.
While the RAGCs article does not address how segregated training will improve medical practice, the authors note, “Especially as we seek to recruit more medical students who are BIPOC, we need to recognize [systemic racial] harm and encourage pedagogical approaches that support the needs of BIPOC learners.”
“Addressing racism in medicine requires approaches at the systemic, interpersonal, and individual levels. RAGCs are designed to support learning, growth, and reflection in a manner that centers BIPOC learners while providing differentiation for all learners,” the authors conclude.
Neither UCSF nor the New England Journal of Medicine have responded to Campus Reform’s request for comment, but this story will be updated accordingly.
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