These days, everyone’s searching for enlightenment.
That includes the world’s medical establishments.
If you’re going to be a doctor in the modern era, you’ve got to choose your words wisely.
Therefore, Columbia University’s Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons has issued “Guidelines for Promoting an Anti-Bias and Inclusive Curriculum.”
On its website, the medical school explains that “inclusion is a value,” and its directives for teachers are meant to battle “bias which [decreases an] ability to provide equitable medical care.”
Also at the mission’s forefront: to “increase inclusion” and “combat systemic racism.”
Apropos of that, the guide 86’s the label “Oriental” — it’s “outdated and imprecise.”
And if someone’s a diabetic, don’t call them such; they’re a “person with diabetes.”
Similarly, use the “person-first” descriptor “person with schizophrenia” rather than the less humanity-affirming “schizophrenic.”
And have you ever been told you have healthy pink gums?
Be inclusive in representations of healthy/“normal.”
Example: A textbook may describe healthy gums as being “coral pink” in color, when in fact healthy gums of persons of color may be pigmented.”
As for making relationship references, the manual says most textbook examples are limited to heterosexual couples.
“Such a limited description,” it explains, “inadequately prepares students to work with diverse patients and risks inadvertently communicating to some students that they are not ‘normal.’”
And where sexually transmitted infections are concerned, the handbook advises against using “typical” case examples involving “men who have sex with men or young people.”
This shortcut may inadvertently lead students to think that these are the only kinds of persons who are at risk for STIs.
Consider discussion of a geriatric person with an STI…
Now let’s get into the weeds…
The medical literature now describes many examples of health disparities by race, socioeconomic status, and other variables. However, the mediators of those disparities are not always known and, if known, are not always discussed. This may leave some students with a misguided impression that genetic or biological differences drive such disparities.
“Conversations that focus on the structural reasons for health outcomes,” it continues, “may help students move from
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