New federal bill seeks to 'ban DEI in medicine'

A new bill in the U.S. House of Representatives could prevent medical schools from receiving federal financial assistance if they adopt certain diversity, equity and inclusion policies. 

HR 7725, named the "The Embracing Anti-Discrimination, Unbiased Curricula, and Advancing Truth in Education Act," was introduced March 19 by North Carolina Rep. Greg Murphy, MD. According to a March 19 news release from Dr. Murphy's office, the bill aims to "ban DEI in medicine."

If passed, the legislation would prohibit graduate medical schools from "directing, compelling or incentivizing" students and staff to affirm "oppressor categories" based on characteristics like sex, race, ethnicity and religion. Schools could not uphold that any individual should be treated differently based on such characteristics; that individuals should take responsibility for past actions of social categories they belong to; or that racism is "weaved into the 'ordinary business'" of American society. No required classes could direct or compel students to adopt these ideas, per the bill. 

Furthermore, medical schools could not distinguish students by race or ethnicity by establishing specific distinctions, benefits or courses for certain groups. They could not establish, maintain or contract with DEI offices, or require "diversity statements" from any individuals. 

Medical schools that do not comply with these requirements would be prohibited from receiving any form of federal financial assistance and could not participate in guaranteed student loan programs. 

"American medical schools are the best in the world and no place for discrimination," Dr. Murphy, the bill's sponsor, said in the news release. 

"Diversity strengthens medicine, but not if it's achieved through exclusionary practices," he continued. "Medicine is about serving others and doing the best job possible in every circumstance. We cannot afford to sacrifice the excellence and quality of medical education at the hands of prejudice and divisive ideology."

Some of the bill's 35 co-sponsors are physicians, though other medical doctors have spoken out against the legislation, including Vanessa Grubbs, MD, a nephrologist and co-founder of the nonprofit Black Doc Village, which advocates for Black trainees and physicians facing discrimination. 

"There's a huge body of literature that shows when there is racial or cultural concordance, people have better satisfaction and health outcomes," Dr. Grubbs told Medscape. "It's really telling that the first thing the people dreaming up these bills say is that by having a diverse workforce, it automatically means that you have a less qualified workforce or that you're lowering standards."

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.