Over 1,000 medical professionals have signed a petition condemning and demanding an apology from the highly esteemed New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) for publishing an article arguing for racial segregation in medical education.
The petition, first obtained by Fox News Digital, was organized by Do No Harm, a nonprofit with the stated mission of “protect[ing] health care from a radical, divisive, and discriminatory ideology. We believe in making health care better for all — not undermining it in pursuit of a political agenda.”
Do No Harm is led by its chairman, Dr. Stanley Goldfarb, a former associate dean of curriculum at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine.
In a new letter to NEJM’s editors penned by Goldfarb and co-signed by more than 1,100 people, a diverse coalition of medical professionals slammed the journal for what they describe as “racist rhetoric,” calling for accountability and the promotion of merit over racial diversity in medicine.
“Disappointment. That’s the reaction that we, the undersigned, and countless others recently had when reading what is supposed to be the most prestigious journal in American medicine,” the petition states. “As medical professionals, we turn to your pages for serious and thoughtful research and analysis. Instead, in your April article, ‘Racial Affinity Group Caucusing in Medical Education — a Key Supplement to Antiracism Curricula,’ we found an argument for medical schools to create student groups segregated by skin color.”
The article, written by a group of California researchers and published in NEJM in April, suggested students should be segregated by race for their medical education, arguing racism is “the root cause of racially disparate health outcomes” and the systems that perpetuate such alleged racism should be dismantled.
“Founded on legacies of colonialism and racism, medical education has historically centered White learners and continues to perpetuate structural racism,” the article stated, adding that the “immersion” of students who are Black, Indigenous, or people of color in the existing medical education system “can therefore be retraumatizing, resulting in imposter syndrome, heightened anxiety, and a reduced sense of belonging.”
As a solution, the researchers propose Racial Affinity Group Caucuses, “facilitated sessions involving participants grouped according to self-identified racial or ethnic identity to support integration of antiracism curricula into clinical practice.”
The article goes on to say that in a “space without White people,” minority learners “can bring their whole selves, heal from racial trauma together, and identify strategies for addressing structural racism.”
According to Do No Harm’s petition, such an approach is racial segregation and would only hurt the medical field.
“It is difficult to understand how such offensive language made it past the gatekeepers of this prestigious institution,” the petition states. “In these same pages, authors and editors have been covering the unprecedented exodus of physicians and other staff leaving the clinical profession due to demoralization, burnout, and toxic work environments. Have you considered the possibility that divisive and highly politicized pieces such as this might be worsening this crisis, in addition to moving medical education toward segregation?”
The petition goes on to call for “real solutions to the root causes of persistent health disparities,” arguing “divisive and racist language” will hold back progress.
NEJM “should apologize for running such an illiberal and extremist article, and ask itself why it was published in the first place,” the letter concludes. “Anything less sends a deeply concerning message about the priorities — and indeed, the principles — of the New England Journal of Medicine.”
Beyond the petition, Do No Harm is running an ad campaign across major social media platforms and news sites, targeted to NEJM “and other stakeholders” with the message, “Racial segregation has no place in medicine.” There will also be a mobile billboard running Thursday at the NEJM and Mass Medical Society headquarters in Waltham, Massachusetts.
“We believe in a medical community that upholds the highest standards of inclusivity and equality,” Goldfarb told Fox News Digital. “The publication of this article is deeply troubling and undermines the progress made in fostering collegiality and teamwork in delivering high quality health care. We call upon the New England Journal of Medicine to address this matter with urgency, accountability, and a commitment to rectify the situation.”
NEJM did not immediately respond to a request for comment for this story.
The petition and ad campaign are not the first instances of Do No Harm targeting what it describes as wokeness in the medical field. Under Goldfarb’s leadership, the nonprofit has made it a mission to combat progressive ideology in the health care industry while promoting fairness, equal access, and personalized treatment for every patient.
“Patients will be viewed as members of a group based on skin color rather than as individuals,” Goldfarb told Fox News Digital last year in response to a study showing diversity, equity, and inclusion policies have gained a significant foothold in American medical colleges. “Diversity has been elevated above merit and achievement as the basis for choosing med students and promoting faculty. This must lead to a decline in the quality of the physician workforce and undermines a foundational idea of America that you can achieve your goals through hard work and talent.”
In April, Do No Harm sponsored a Marist poll that found most Americans do not believe reducing reliance on medical entrance exams for medical school or promoting liberal hospital policies designed to promote diversity, equity and inclusion are helping health care.
“Americans reject the radical, divisive, and discriminatory ideology injected into the medical profession,” Goldfarb said in response to the poll. “Physicians and patients will suffer if they are force-fed such extremism. Let’s call this what it is: dangerous and un-American.”