Do the big medical orgs hate Asian Americans?

In June and July 2023, the American Medical Association (AMA) and American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) joined several other medical groups to denounce the recent SCOTUS ruling regarding affirmative action college admissions.  On June 29, 2023, the day of the SCOTUS ruling, the AMA released the following statement:

Today's decision by the U.S. Supreme Court undermines decades of progress centered on the educational value of diversity, and will reverse gains made in the battle against health inequities. This ruling restricts medical schools from considering race and ethnicity among the multiple factors in admissions policies and will translate into a less diverse physician workforce. Diversity is vital to health care, and this court ruling deals a serious blow to our goal of increasing medical career opportunities for historically marginalized and minoritized people."

On 20 July, 2023, the ACEP DIE Chair, Dr. Ugoezenkwele, published the following in response to the ruling in an official statement to represent all of ACEP:

Joint Statement from Emergency Medicine Organizations on Efforts to Diversify Health Care Professionals in the United States

Following the recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions on the consideration of an applicant's racial or ethnic background in the higher education admissions process, our emergency medicine organizations stand together in our efforts to diversify health care professionals, including physicians, in the United States.

Additionally, we reaffirm our responsibility to addressing health care disparities and inequities as we deliver exceptional care to all patients who enter our emergency departments.

Evidence indicates race and ethnicity concordance are factors recognized by and important to patient outcomes and their access to quality health care. This is particularly important in emergency care, where patient-physician trust must be established quickly and a substantial portion of patients are from underrepresented and marginalized racial/ethnic groups.

Further, diversity in the health professions also improves the educational experiences of students, resident physicians, the teaching experiences of faculty, and the overall health of our communities.

Our organizations are committed to strengthening the diversity of health professionals, including physicians, and promoting staffing of hospitals and their emergency departments with individuals of diverse race and ethnicity for the health and well-being of our patients.

If the court's decisions in Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) vs Harvard and SFFA vs the University of North Carolina requires changes to current law and practices, we stand ready to work together and with other stakeholders to foster a diverse health professions workforce.

In addition to publishing this statement on its website, ACEP emailed a blog post from Dr. Ezenkwele to all ACEP members.  Past statements that have appeared political, such as this one, usually devolved into political bickering in the physician chatroom, with usually unfair moderating favoring liberals.  I replied that this post should be moved to a political blog on ACEP and out of the main policy realm.  That statement drew several defenders of the publication, who stated that it was about medicine and had nothing to do with politics.  I disagreed.  Timing is everything.  The timing of the ACEP DIE statement and post matters.

It is arrogant for anyone to claim to speak for everyone else.  I have to constantly monitor my own thoughts to ensure I don't fall into this trap and apologize if I ever do.  That being said, I could only guess that most if not all ACEP members want the best for all Americans, regardless of race, sex, or other demographic.  I hope all on ACEP's board can agree on that.

There are many ways to achieve equality.  The problem is when members of ACEP or any other group assume that their pathway is the only acceptable one.

The ongoing debate of "equity" versus "equality" as the means to achieve success for all unfortunately falls largely along political lines, with the left favoring affirmative action, quotas, and manipulating admissions standards to achieve "equity."  The right generally favors hard work, merit, and a level playing field to achieve "equality."  This is where this quickly becomes a political argument, similar to discussions on climate, abortion/reproductive health, gun control, and many other issues that end up being contentious and political.

The timing of ACEP's statement on race in medicine is suspect (within weeks of the SCOTUS June 2023 ruling).  On the heels of reactionary statements made by other large medical organizations, it is not difficult to imagine that ACEP's governing body and DIE office disagree with the SCOTUS ruling.

One must also remember the origins of the SCOTUS ruling.  To go before the Supreme Court, an interested party must have standing and therefore bring a case.  Remember: the case was brought by Asian Americans who protested being denied placement in academic institutions due to the color of their skin.  Ironically, it was because they had too much merit (too high scores/grades) and exceeded the quotas for Asians allocated to their race by admissions boards.

Given the facts behind the SCOTUS case, does ACEP and its policy bodies then agree with discrimination against Asian Americans and agree with denying them entrance to institutions of higher learning?  This means ACEP is joining together with the AMA and other medical organizations to be not only anti-white, but also anti-Asian.  If this is the case, then ACEP is not exactly being inclusive, as the statement claims.

The AMA and ACEP don't talk about how there are few to no data to show how a diversified work force improves health.  They also don't discuss the recent trends to stop using GPA, MCAT scores, and other quantifiable metrics to ensure that students meet established standards during their medical school and residency journeys.  Quality control for physicians does not seem to be important anymore.  The obvious question is, how does this new process improve health care while most likely reducing the quality of physicians?

In their extreme defense of affirmative action at all costs, the medical organizations don't seem to care about the unintended effects of their vision to use quotas to diversify health care.  Asians, as a minority, represent only 6% of the U.S. population but account for 27% of medical students.  Probable cultural reasons for their professional success are beyond the scope of this discussion, but the overrepresentation is striking.  Apparently, ACEP thinks there are too many Asian medical students and doctors, and they are inhibiting diversity.

ACEP opposed the SCOTUS ruling that protects Asian students in the application process.  ACEP's moderator blocked discussion of the SCOTUS ruling being brought by Asian students.  She unwittingly made my point about ACEP's political beliefs and bias against whites and Asians in doing so.

Politics and bias have no place in organized medicine.  When medicine is weaponized, patients lose.

Image: Joe Ravi via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0 (cropped).

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