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Woke Inquisitors in the Medical World

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(Pornpak Khunatorn/Getty Images) A recent ‘controversy’ reveals how politically correct ideology is harming health care.

Four hundred years ago, Italian astronomer Galileo was persecuted for advancing Copernicus’s theory that the earth and other planets rotate around the sun. This heliocentric theory violated the prevailing belief dating back to Aristotle and engrained in Christian theology that the sun and planets rotate around a stationary earth. Galileo was tried for heresy and placed under house arrest for the remainder of his life. Science would eventually vindicate Galileo.

Today’s scientists and physicians face a different orthodoxy that explains all disparate health outcomes as the result of structural or systemic racism. Doubters and those who investigate genetic and scientific alternative explanations face their own latter-day inquisition. Just ask Howard Bauchner, editor in chief of JAMA — the Journal of the American Medical Association — who was recently forced to resign. While the remaining JAMA editors offered fulsome praise in a farewell editorial citing his accomplishments, including a commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, make no mistake: He was purged for a thoughtcrime.

Dr. Bauchner’s offense was that he presided over JAMA when it aired a podcast titled “Structural Racism for Doctors — What Is It?” in late February. The podcast featured two white physicians — JAMA deputy editor Ed Livingston and Mitchell Katz, an editor at JAMA Internal Medicine, president and CEO of New York City’s public-hospital system NYC Health + Hospitals, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Katz described structural racism as societal policies or practices that perpetuate racial inequality, as opposed to individuals’ racist beliefs. Dr. Livingston wondered if “structural racism is an unfortunate term to describe a very real problem.” (emphasis added) He worried that people offended by being labeled racist would not address the societal barriers to equal opportunity. JAMA’s tweet promoting the podcast stated, “No physician is racist, so how can there be structural racism in health care? An explanation of the idea by doctors for doctors. . . .”

Criticism of the podcast and tweet was fierce. After clarifying that JAMA is editorially

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