As major universities continue to crank out heavily indebted graduates increasingly incapable of self-sufficiency or even independent thought, so our medical schools are trying to customize their graduates to care for them. Or rather, their fragile self-esteem.
Not content with bothering the rest of us with their ill-informed views on gun control, medical academicians now want to venture into the psychedelic, ever-fluid adventures of social justice as proper realms of study and interference by near-future providers (one hesitates to honor them with “physician”). This sort of stupidity has been long building, at least back to 1992. On my second day of medical school, we had a long morning of lectures in the main auditorium with the obvious intent of getting our minds right. Our class was harangued by a “panel of the aggrieved,” including an angry feminist (I know, redundant), a fiercely proud gay man, and a black pulmonologist. The feminist told us all how bad things had gotten in medicine for women, and less than total respect and awe on the part of males in the class would not be tolerated. The gay man told us all about his rights and how none of us were allowed to have a contrary opinion regarding his community’s proclivities, and any such utterance should be grounds to reconsider our fitness for medicine. The pulmonologist described for us how rampant was racism in Gainesville, Florida where a local bank had actually the effrontery to require proof of income prior to granting him, a black man, a home mortgage. I left for lunch having not yet cut the first cadaver, trembling with the “woke” knowledge of my misogynistic, homophobic, racist guilt now laid bare in this mini-reeducation camp. It was in fact an insulting, pointless show that wasted time, bred resentment, and inspired more than a few wry remarks. Years later, the self-important extortionist morons at the American Board of Family Medicine have been pushing, as part of their MOC protection racket, “CULTURAL COMPETENCY,” as a way I suppose to make their weaker minded victims feel part of the greater planetary effort. What it actually represents is cultural egalitarianism designed to take us all down a notch and foster some hemispheric humility.
Good efforts all, but you can’t really get a cultural revolution going without getting the kids to hit the streets, waving their little red books. The best way forward is via medical school curricula, where you marry the twin interests of 1) filling impressionable minds with trusted sources, and 2) making their grades and thereby their future economic prospects dependent on absorbing social justice platitudes. Stanley Goldfarb M.D., a former medical school curricula dean and author of this WSJ piece says, “The traditional American model of medical training, which has been emulated around the world, emphasizes a scientific approach to treatment and subjects students to rigorous classroom instruction … [which] produced a technically proficient and responsible physician corps for the U.S.” Clearly this author didn’t pass his CULTURAL COMPETENCY work from the ABFM, or he would know that “American” and “U.S” are not terms appropriate for academic association. Dr. Goldfarb: “The influential critic Ivan Illich called the medical industry an instrument of ‘pain, sickness, and death,’ and sought to reorder the field toward an egalitarian social purpose.” Precisely. Medical schools now want students to be proficient in the topics of homelessness, climate change, and the critical if nebulous “diversity.”
Goldfarb contrasts our “current administrator-rich, policy-heavy, form-over-function approach at every level of American education” while “oncologists, cardiologists, surgeons and other medical specialists are in short supply.” Never mind knowing exactly how to manage an aortic dissection, when your community’s carbon footprint needs attention.
Over at the (ahem) Scientific American, they have a different view. Authors and pediatric specialists Paquette and Patel argue that medical school grads have training in “philosophy, bioethics, public health and law” that makes them qualified to address social factors in order to pursue greater population health: “Physicians should act to prevent the root causes of illness and improve health.” Their article worries about “patients who are at risk for worse care and outcomes because they lack access to transportation or medications—or simply because of where they live.”
Academicians like this will push for goals laudable and otherwise through politics, which includes the indoctrination of their students. There is a fine line along a tricky course, wherein a teacher should seek to impart knowledge and values to a student, but I think this has already gone full over into ideological indoctrination. Encouraging students ignorant in gun use, climate science, or real estate economics to start proclaiming, pronouncing, and parading on topics in which they have no expertise will only further degrade a profession already in great peril. The author’s “incorporating principles of social justice, public health and population health” will produce benighted products made more malleable for government control, through which they will seek to further order society. They will fail of course, but along the way actual medical care will get worse, and more intelligent types will seek to avoid this fruitless work. What sort of healthy person would want to enter into a life of nagging others?
A great many of my medical school classmates could wipe the floor with me come exam day, and yet a great many of those could not be trusted to watch my dog overnight, so lacking in common sense were they, that somehow the dog would’ve been caught on fire. Even in 1992, a great many of them were “feelings-fueled” once they looked up from the microscope. “Woke” medial students will be even dumber, screeching at honest citizens about the truth behind transgender biology and the need for more taxpayer subsidy of public toilets for the homeless. This is all politics, and medical schools should shun it like the plague it will encourage.
Well at least we cared!Which all reminds me of one final story. Adam Nicolson’s “Seize the Fire” is an excellent telling of the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, in which the British Royal Navy utterly destroyed the French fleet. The battle was no contest. The author explains in detail that the typical French naval officer was expected to be proficient, in courtly protocols, sword fencing, and dancing. His British counterparts were ruthlessly schooled in navigation, ship handling, and gunnery. Form does not trump function when it counts.