Association of American Medical Colleges implements DEI competencies for students, faculty

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has released Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) competencies that lay out ideas and knowledge that students, residents, and faculty should be able to demonstrate, which includes topics regarding intersectionality, white privilege, and racism, amongst many other topics.

The report, released earlier in July, lies out a number of competencies across three levels of learning in three categories: diversity, equity, and inclusion.

The three levels of students are: Entering residency or “new to DEI journey,” entering practice or “advancing along DEI journey,” and faculty physician or “continuing DEI journey.”

Some of these competencies include the following:

“Demonstrates knowledge of the intersectionality of a patient’s multiple identities and how each identity may result in varied and multiple forms of oppression or privilege related to clinical decisions and practice.”

“Articulates how one’s own identities, power, and privileges (e.g., professional hierarchy, culture, class, gender) influence interactions with patients, families, communities, and members of the health care team.”

“Teaches how systems of power, privilege, and oppression inform policies and practices and how to engage with systems to disrupt oppressive practices.”

“Describes past and current examples of racism and oppression (internalized, interpersonal, institutional, and structural) and their impact on trust, health, and health care.”

“Demonstrates moral courage, self-advocacy, and allyship when facing and/or witnessing injustice (e.g., microaggression, discrimination, racism)”

Speaking out against the AAMC’s DEI competencies is the National Association of Scholars (NAS), who say that said competencies “will hamper free expression, politicize medical education, encourage physicians to engage in misbegotten activism, and in the longer run, lead to substantively harmful policies.”

“We should hope that students and faculty alike should speak up and reject them,” the NAS said.

John Sailer, a Research Associate at the NAS, wrote that the concepts outsold in the DEI competencies report, including inter sectionalist and ally ship, “connote substantive political positions; to declare that faculty and students must embrace them clearly violates academic freedom.”

“At medical schools that adopt the competencies, it will undoubtedly become harder for students and faculty to voice support for a meritocracy or skepticism toward ‘gender-affirming care’ for minors. Such views, after all, are commonly labeled ‘oppressive,'” wrote Sailer.

Following the release of these competencies, David Shorten, president and CEO of AAMC, and Henri Ford, chair of the AAMC Council of Deans, spoke in support of the report.

“A physician’s learning is never finished. We hope that formally integrating diversity, equity, and inclusion competencies in medical education across the continuum of learning will help create environments in which physicians, patients, and their communities can thrive,” they wrote.

The pair said that a key part of developing physicians and evolving medical education “is the growing understanding that most of individuals’ health is influenced by conditions in the neighborhoods, workplaces, and communities where they live and work.”

“An intricate web of social, behavioral, economic, and environmental factors, including access to quality education and housing, have greater influence on patients’ health than physicians do, even when we can offer the most groundbreaking scientific offerings,” they wrote.

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