Monday, September 16, 2019

Social Justice Infects Medical Education

The next time you are looking for a physician do you want someone who is well-informed and competent in all matters medical or do you want someone who is well versed in the dogmas of social justice?

It sounds like a stupid question. It is a stupid question. Who would be stupid enough to think that medical school should replace any part of the science with an indoctrination in social justice? 

Why the University of Pennsylvania medical school, that’s who. So explains Dr. Stanley Goldfarb, formerly a dean of the medical school, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, aptly entitled: “Take Two Aspirin and Call Me by My Pronouns.”

To be more explicit than necessary, medical school education is being corrupted and watered down. Considering that medical students have only a finite number of hours to learn their profession, do you really think that they use those hours best by studying climate change dogma? Seriously.

Dr. Goldfarb laments:

During my term as associate dean of curriculum at the University of Pennsylvania’s medical school, I was chastised by a faculty member for not including a program on climate change in the course of study. As the Journal reported last month, such programs are spreading across medical schools nationwide.

For all I know, the curriculum has been dumbed down because the school took too many students who could not keep up with the old course of study. We noted that the same thing has happened at Stanford University where students who cannot pass physics are offered a course in social justice physics… where they learned how to whine about the racial and gender disparities in the field.

As for Penn, Goldfarb continues:

A new wave of educational specialists is increasingly influencing medical education. They emphasize “social justice” that relates to health care only tangentially. This approach is the result of a progressive mind-set that abhors hierarchy of any kind and the social elitism associated with the medical profession in particular.

These educators focus on eliminating health disparities and ensuring that the next generation of physicians is well-equipped to deal with cultural diversity, which are worthwhile goals. But teaching these issues is coming at the expense of rigorous training in medical science. The prospect of this “new,” politicized medical education should worry all Americans.

Now, you would imagine that a race blind physician would not be treating patients differently according to race or ethnicity. Apparently, such is no longer the case. The reason is that med school administrators are not physicians. They have graduated from schools of education, a hotbed of mental incompetence and political correctness

As concerns about social justice have taken over undergraduate education, graduate schools have raced to develop curricula that will steep future educators in the same ideology. Today a master’s degree in education is often what it takes to qualify for key administrative roles on medical-school faculties. The zeitgeist of sociology and social work have become the driving force in medical education. The goal of today’s educators is to produce legions of primary care physicians who engage in what is termed “population health.”

One suspects that the same numbskulls concocted the Common Core curriculum, the one that has dumbed down elementary and high school education across the nation:

This fits perfectly with the current administrator-rich, policy-heavy, form-over-function approach at every level of American education. Theories of learning with virtually no experimental basis for their impact on society and professions now prevail. Students are taught in the tradition of educational theorist √Čtienne Wenger, who emphasized “communal learning” rather than individual mastery of crucial information.

So, when you get your free health care from the socialist politicians you elected, you will be happy to know that their competence level has been compromised by political correctness:

Where will all this lead? Medical school bureaucracies have become bloated, as they have in every other sphere of education. Curricula will increasingly focus on climate change, social inequities, gun violence, bias and other progressive causes only tangentially related to treating illness. And so will many of your doctors in coming years.

Meanwhile, oncologists, cardiologists, surgeons and other medical specialists are in short supply. The specialists who are produced must master more crucial material even though less and less of their medical-school education is devoted to basic scientific knowledge. If this country needs more gun control and climate change activists, medical schools are not the right place to produce them.

As it happened, members of the Penn medical school community reacted to Dr. Goldfarb’s op-ed. They were outraged that anyone would imagine that being brainwashed in the dogmas of political correctness and social justice diversity might not make someone a great physician. Or better, might make a physician more empathetic.

But, ask yourself this, when you get sick do you want a physician who feels your pain or a physician who knows what to do to make it go away.

Anyway, here the Journal summarizes the idiotic reaction to Dr. Goldfarb’s op-ed. As it says, the reaction proves his point:

Left-wing medical Twitter —yes, there is such a thing—piled on with virtue signaling that distorted Dr. Goldfarb’s argument. He didn’t write that doctors shouldn’t have opinions about political issues. He wrote that those issues shouldn’t interfere with the scientific and clinical training essential to producing doctors who can serve patients.

The most disappointing response came from Penn medical school, which sprinted for political cover. Dean J. Larry Jameson and Senior Vice Dean Suzanne Rose sent a letter to students and faculty that is a case study in progressive correctness:

“Please know that the views expressed by Dr. Goldfarb in this column reflect his personal opinions and do not reflect the values of the Perelman School of Medicine,” the letter said. “We deeply value inclusion and diversity as fundamental to effective health care delivery, creativity, discovery, and life-long learning. We are committed to ensuring a rigorous and comprehensive medical education that includes examination of the many social and cultural issues that influence health, from violence within communities to changes in the environment around us.”

To repeat myself, a student who spends hours learning to mouth platitudinous nonsense about climate change ideology is not spending that time learning his trade. Moreover, making physicians into activists, which the deans imply in their last sentence, is precisely the kind of ideologically driven thinking that ought not to have a place in medical school or in any scientific discipline. If you cannot think empirically and allow your judgement to be led by the facts you are not practicing medicine.


test blog said...

Spot on, Stuart, as is Dr. Stanley Goldfarb and the WSJ op-ed, aptly entitled: “Take Two Aspirin and Call Me by My Pronouns.” Seems to me that all medical schools need to urgently put in place a mandatory subject - 'OTT Political Correctness, Global Warming /Climate Change Scam to invent new trillions of tax revenues, You Will Like our GayPride/Transgenderism/there are more sexes than just Male and Female and education of your children in same (or we will call you racist and homophobic),- recently discovered pandemic diseases that are extremely virulent, highly infectious and contagious, AND DETERMINE WHY they only affect liberals, left-winger, whiners.'



Sam L. said...

This song popped into my head while reading this. I can't recall the title, or the group who sang it, but it goes something like this:

"Hey, hey, what's that sound, ev'rybody look what's goin' down.
It starts when you're always afraid; step out of line, the man comes to take you away..."

Walt said...

Croby, Stills & Nash. Title "For what it's worth."

On topic: medicine has become too devoted to "public health" when illness and disease are very much a matter of private, individual health and one size never fits all