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How One Medical Board is Injecting DEI into All Aspects of Medical Education

The American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation will require doctors to answer questions about ‘health equity’ to keep their certification.
Masked Harvard Medical School students / hms.harvard.edu
Masked Harvard Medical School students / hms.harvard.edu

Last year, Oregon Health & Science University Hillsboro Medical Center began developing an “anti-racism and structural competency curriculum” for internal medicine residents. The school wasn’t alone. Georgetown University Hospital created a “social medicine and health equity track” for its residents. And this year, the health care system Honor Health started a project “to demonstrate how health care organizations can address DEI [diversity, equity, and inclusion] through the formation of People Resource Groups, affinity groups”—that is, segregated groups—”based on race, ethnicity, gender, and/or orientation.”

The throughline is the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Foundation, the charity arm of the American Board of Internal Medicine, which certifies internists and is funding the development of the curricula. Both organizations wield significant influence in medicine, and over the past few years, they have used that influence to push an ideological agenda under the guise of DEI, health equity, and “antiracism.”

ABIM’s shift toward the promotion of DEI began with its release of a statement in June 2020 decrying the “structural inequity” embedded in the health care system and pledging to confront the “constructed social world”—whatever that is—that allows illness to spread. The organization released a progress report, declaring in Kendian language how it had transitioned from being “passively non-racist” to “actively anti-racist.”

Now, ABIM is using every bit of influence it has to push DEI in medicine, requiring physicians to educate themselves in this political pablum to practice their craft. It is part of a trend, underwritten by some of the country’s largest foundations, that has seen accrediting bodies incorporate social justice ideology into their requirements for member schools. The American Bar Association, which accredits almost every law school in the country, approved a standard in February that requires law students to learn about “bias, cross-cultural competency, and racism.” The National Association of Independent Schools, which oversees accreditation standards for more than 1,600 American private schools, requires members to practice “cross-cultural competency” to promote “diversity, inclusion, equity, and justice.”

ABIM’s push for DEI has found its way into the most basic function of the organization, which is the certification of internal medicine practitioners. Internists must pass ABIM’s Maintenance of Certification Exam every 10 years. As of April 2021, “health equity” questions are now included on all exams.

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