NMA Outraged at Texas Tech University Decision
Tuesday, April 9, 2019
National Medical Association Outraged at Texas Tech University Decision to Exclude Race as a Factor in Medical School Admissions Process
The President of the National Medical Association Dr. Niva Lubin-Johnson and its members are appalled and dismayed at the decision of Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and its leadership, including Steven Lee Berk, M.D., executive vice president and provost, and the Governor- appointed Texas Tech Board of Regents. The board, which is comprised of nine male members and its Board Chairman Christopher M. Huckabee, has made the decision to voluntarily stop using race as one of several factors considered in the admissions process.
We cannot continue to sit silently as this administration continues to attempt to erase the last 50 years of progress, made in the areas of human and civil rights in this country. It has been proven time and time again that all students benefit from a more robust education when the student body is diverse. Study after study has shown that increased diversity leads to increased cognitive gains and a decrease of stereotype, threat and response. In a time where people of color and the poor are not represented adequately in STEM/STEAM programs, the benefit of inclusion results in gains for all.
It is ironic that this decision was publicized after Dr. Lubin-Johnson made remarks at the Xavier University Health Disparities Conference and the National Minority Quality Forum Annual Meeting, earlier this week, concerning the need for increased African Americans in medicine. She stated, “Improvement in the diversity of those in medicine with acceptance, enrollment and matriculation in medical school and beyond is one of the 5 NMA health policy foci during my term as President. Better quality healthcare, less expensive healthcare and better health outcomes are well documented.”
These not-so-subtle attacks on the gains of The Civil Rights Act of 1965, subsequent legislation to normalize society and the Obama-era guidance in successfully incorporating race as an attribute in college admissions is an affront to the very democracy these attacks say they uphold. Studies have shown that African American and Hispanic/Latino physicians are more likely to provide care for underserved Black and Brown communities. Patient satisfaction improves when there is cultural and language concordance between patient and physician. Patients are better served with a diverse medical team and there are still too many barriers to students of color to enter the medical field. Social and cultural criteria have never taken the place of good, honest hard work and should augment the decision- making process. There has never been a request for a free pass and there never will be. We deserve a fair chance to make a positive contribution to the country we love.
The National Medical Association is the collective voice of African American physicians and the leading force for parity and justice in medicine. The NMA is the oldest organization of African American professionals in America representing the over 50,000 African American physicians and the patients we serve in the United States and its territories.