EXCLUSIVE: Med School Went Woke After Pressure From Accreditor, Documents Show
Alexa Schwerha on February 1, 2023
- The University of Utah School of Medicine implemented a series of programs to recruit and retain diverse students and faculty after its accrediting organization said its diversity efforts were unsatisfactory, according to emails obtained by a medical watchdog group and shared with the Daily Caller News Foundation.
- The school, in response, filed a status report outlining its progress in increasing its diversity on campus.
- “This further promotes ideology ahead of quality medical education and race/ethnicity or sex over hiring the most qualified faculty and staff,” Laura Morgan, Do No Harm’s program manager, told the DCNF.
The University of Utah School of Medicine (SOM) adopted a series of programs to recruit more diverse students and faculty after its accrediting organization said its diversity efforts were unsatisfactory, according to emails obtained by a medical watchdog group and shared with the Daily Caller News Foundation.
The Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) told the school that it found certain elements of its diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts unsatisfactory, and requested a detailed report from the medical school about how it improved recruitment and retainment for students and faculty from underrepresented communities, according to a 2021 accreditation report shared with the DCNF. In response, the school complied with the request, instituting several DEI programs and sending a status update about how it sought to connect with people from “each of the school’s identified diversity groups,” earning the LCME’s approval.
“The LCME and AAMC hold the power over medical schools regarding their accreditation, and the University of Utah School of Medicine’s responses to the LCME’s findings reflect the desire to live up to those organizations’ woke agendas,” Laura Morgan, Do No Harm’s program manager, told the DCNF. “This further promotes ideology ahead of quality medical education and race/ethnicity or sex over hiring the most qualified faculty and staff.”
The initial LCME report found that the school’s “diversity/pipeline programs and partnerships” element was “unsatisfactory” based on data that showed a low number of women at the institution. The LCME said that this was an “improvement for the 2020 entering class,” but that staff diversity remained low.
“DCI data show that 38.5% of full-time faculty and 22.2% of senior administrative staff are women,” the report reads. “No offers for faculty and senior administrative staff positions were made in several of the school’s diversity categories (American Indian/Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander) for the 2018-29 academic year.”
In response, the Utah school outlined several initiatives it took to recruit a more diverse student body. The efforts ranged from hosting an “Indigenous STEM Youth Outreach Program” to holding a “Day of the Dead Premedical Conference” and offering workshops to help undergraduate and pre-med students from “underrepresented” backgrounds prepare for the admissions process.
“Two significant areas for improvement are related to student and faculty diversity. SOM Office of Health Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (OHEDI) recognizes recruitment is important with compositional diversity and the need for intentional retention efforts for the success of all,” the school wrote in its report. “SOM OHEDI and health science center University of Utah Health, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (HSC UHEDI) are continuously working to identify needs for action to achieve desired results in terms of recruitment and retention of diverse faculty, students, and staff.”
The school held “diversity recruitment days” and offered scholarships specifically to students from “underrepresented populations” that covered the near total cost of tuition for four years, the report wrote. The school required its admissions staff to undergo “Anti-Bias Training” and to use a “holistic” admission process which required a cultural awareness essay for the 2021-2022 academic year.
Faculty search committees received anti-bias training, and most departments also require applicants to submit a diversity statement, according to the report.
The LCME responded in June 2022 that while the school had improved its diversity efforts, additional action is required. The accreditor labeled the school’s progress as “satisfactory with a need for mentoring,” but requested the school send a second status report by August 15, 2023.
“Medical education must not be undermined in favor of medical wokeness, and Utah taxpayers need to ask why this is being done at UUSOM,” Morgan told the DCNF.
The University of Utah School of Medicine and the LCME did not respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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