There’s a sickness at Georgia’s biggest medical school.
Out of sight of the public eye, the taxpayer-funded Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University is promoting divisive and even discriminatory ideas. Turns out, the same “Critical Race Theory” philosophy that has corrupted K-12 education and led to movements like “Defund the Police” has made its way into medical education, too.
As a black woman myself, I am raising the alarm. Every Georgian should be worried because what happens in medical schools ultimately affects all of our health.
Do No Harm, the national medical advocacy organization where I am a senior fellow, has been investigating MCG for some time. What we’ve found is disturbing. The medical school, part of the University System of Georgia, is one of the 10 largest in the country by class size and the only publicly funded one in Georgia. And it is engaged in political indoctrination that has nothing do with medicine. Look no further than the radical training it conducted recently.
The training, entitled, “The Skeleton In Our Closet: Racism at MCG,” was replete with allegations of systemic racism and white supremacy. “Moving Forward” was identified as the institution embracing “anti-racism.” As nice as that sounds – who doesn’t want to oppose racism? – anti-racism is the antithesis of opposing racism. Its founder, Ibram X. Kendi, insists that in anti-racism, “the only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination; the only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.” In other words, anti-racism is centered on actual racism.
Think about that for a moment. Medical College of Georgia is all but praising racial discrimination as necessary to right past wrongs. That is profoundly wrong in itself. In the context of healthcare, this means giving people preferential access to care because of their race. If you’re black, you get to cut in line. If you’re white, you get pushed back. Already, other medical institutions, including a hospital affiliated with Harvard Medical School, have announced plans to do just that.
As someone who lived through apartheid in South Africa, I know: Doling out medical care based on skin color jeopardizes people’s health. It’s a recipe to hurt people by delaying their care. Why is MCG moving in that dangerous direction, even if just rhetorically?
And it doesn’t stop there. The training instructs everyone affiliated with the institution to “commit to being part of diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.” Again, that sounds perfectly fine until you unpack the meaning. This “DEI” worldview is classic double-speak. Diversity really means uniformity of thought; equity means equal outcomes, even if it means destroying equal access and equal treatment; and inclusion means exclusion of anyone who doesn’t toe the party line.
A medical school like MCG should be focused on training the best possible future physicians, not filling their heads with political propaganda. This divisive indoctrination, which happened behind closed doors, raises many questions. What else are faculty being forced to do? What ideas are medical students, who will become our future physicians, really being taught? And to what extent have these divisive ideas spread across all taxpayer-funded higher education in Georgia?
How concerned should we be, for example, that the University of Georgia has an entire office of “Institutional Diversity?” UGA’s five-year plan includes establishing an “awareness program for faculty and staff to complete diversity certificate program.” Indoctrination, not education, is rapidly spreading – and taxpayers are unwittingly funding it.
We deserve better. And the good news is that the University System of Georgia can do better. Chancellor Sonny Perdue has the power to investigate the extent to which divisive and discriminatory ideas have infiltrated the colleges and universities we pay for. Further, he has the authority to act to protect students and faculty from an extreme agenda, while promoting a real education grounded in truth and facts.
Now is the time to get ideology out of higher education as a whole, and medical education in particular. Institutions like the Medical College of Georgia should be training physicians, not activists, and teaching medical excellence, not extreme racial politics. The taxpayers who fund our state university system deserve it. And the health and well-being of every Georgian depend on it.
Benita Cotton-Orr is a senior fellow at Do No Harm, a medical advocacy group.