A new report by the nonprofit Do No Harm found the University of California San Diego School of Medicine has increasingly focused on “diversity, equity and inclusion” efforts in recent years, including incorporating principles of critical race theory into curricula.
“At the institutional level, UCSD’s medical school has created a number of internal bureaucracies dedicated to the ideas of DEI at both the staffing and teaching levels, including in ways that can foster active discrimination and a lower quality in medical outcomes,” writes Do No Harm, a nonprofit focused on stopping the “woke takeover” of health care.
The report notes that UCSD took “symbolic actions,” including implementing a “pass/fail” policy for medical students during their first two years and forming an “Anti-Discrimination Task Force” in the Division of Geriatrics, Gerontology and Palliative Care as part of its “commitment to becoming an anti-racist institution.”
The medical school also has a Family Medicine Diversity and Anti-Racism Committee, which is run with a mission to “help achieve greater health equity and social justice,” including by pushing to teach a curriculum “grounded on a framework of empathy and anti-racism,” retain and hire a “diverse faculty,” and promote scholarship focused on “healthcare disparities.”
The committee has hosted a number of talks on topics including race in medicine; implicit bias; microaggression; health disparities in women; contraception bias; border health; immigrant, refugee and asylee health; Asian American healthcare disparities; LGBTQ Health; advocacy; and spirituality.
“Some of UCSDSoM’s CRT programming originates with the administration, while other aspects of it are fostered by student pressure and activism,” the report notes. “Combined, they constitute an overall agenda permeating UCSD’s medical school as an institution.”
On June 8, 2020, UCSD’s chapter of White Coats 4 Black Lives (WC4BL) held a protest claiming racism is a “public health crisis.” The protest was attended by Cheryl Anderson, the founding dean of the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science. Anderson said that “there’s nothing that’s controversial in asking for an anti-racist institution.”
Anderson’s participation was not an institutional one-off: UCSD Health issued a statement the day of the protest declaring “solidarity with the aspirations and missions espoused by White Coats 4 Black Lives and other groups advocating for liberty and justice through peaceful protest, civil discourse and real, substantial change to prejudiced policies and programs,” the report notes.
UCSD Health said it is “founded upon the indisputable value of shared idea, equity and diversity.”
UCSD also posted a “Call to Action” on Facebook featuring a video of medical student Betial Asmerom saying, “There can be no neutrality in this movement, you have to choose to be an anti-racist if we’re going to see any real change, any black liberation.”
UCSDSoM received $2.6 million from the state of California the next year to expand its DEI-guided offerings under a push to underwrite “health equity” programs in the UC medical school system.
The medical school has a program called “Transforming Indigenous Doctor Education,” also known as Prime-TIDE, that aims to train students to understand the “social, environmental, economic and political issues related to providing healthcare to tribal communities.”
The program features classes including, “Introduction to the Politics of Medicine,” “Environmental Racism,” “Medicine, Race and the Global Politics of Inequality,” “Race, Inequality, and Health,” and “Transnationalism and the Borderlands: The Local and Global.”
In June 2021, UCSD opened its T. Denny Sanford Institute for Empathy and Compassion. The professor of neuroscience leading the institute, Gentry Patrick, said the center will “support neuroscience-based approaches into the neurobiology of empathy and compassion, especially with respect to addressing the brain basis for self-identity and the biological social bases for discrimination and racism.”
Meanwhile the Wertheim School has an “Anti-Racism Statement” on its site affirming that the UCSD-SDSU General Preventative Medicine Residency “is in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and condemns the use of excessive force in law enforcement tactics.”
“The residency believes the scientific evidence that systemic racism exists and that there is an urgent need to actively work toward institutional changes that reverse decades of discrimination,” the statement adds.
The statement argues “we must move beyond racial equity to racial justice, and we must move beyond race neutrality to actively embracing anti-racist policies.”
Do No Harm’s report concludes that UCSD’s “increasing integration of racial politics into its medical school and related programs is one case of a larger trend.”
“The confluence of the Covid-19 pandemic and a racial justice frenzy since June 2020 has resulted in academic institutions increasingly developing curricula and departments designed at fostering social engineering,” it adds.