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Press Release

Reps. Castor, Beatty Fight for Fairness in Medicine with DEI Resolution

WASHINGTON, DC – Yesterday, as National Minority Health Month concluded, Congresswoman Kathy Castor (FL-14), co-chair of the Congressional Academic Medicine Caucus, and Congresswoman Joyce Beatty (OH-03), co-chair of the Congressional Black Caucus’ Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Task Force, introduced a resolution recognizing the importance of DEI in medical education. The resolution affirms the need for a health care workforce that mirrors the nation’s diverse patient populations to advance health equity throughout the United States. To that end, the resolution commits to supporting DEI programs and academic freedom at medical education institutions.

Unequal access to quality medical services, treatment, and preventive measures has led to significant disparities in health outcomes, life expectancy, and overall well-being among racial and ethnic groups. As a result, certain communities face higher rates of health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and asthma. Ample evidence suggests that diversity at medical schools, and therefore in the field of medicine, increases access to care for medically underserved communities and improves patient-provider interactions and quality of care. 

The historical lack of diversity in medicine underscores the need for DEI initiatives. A recent survey by the Association of American Medical Colleges revealed that only 7% of practicing U.S. physicians identified as Hispanic and 6% as Black or African American. Therefore, the resolution promotes efforts to foster diversity at medical education institutions and strongly opposes legislative measures that threaten these efforts.

“The health and well-being of all Americans depends on medical professionals who understand and respond to the needs of their diverse patients. Understanding biases, racial discrimination, and historic barriers to diagnosis and care are vital parts of medical education and training today. A highly-competent and diverse health care workforce helps avoid mistreatment and close the gaps in health disparities,” said Congresswoman Castor. “As Co-Chair of the Congressional Academic Medicine Caucus, I value graduate medical physician training that emphasizes culturally-competent care for patients from a variety of backgrounds so that patients feel respected, safe and understood, and receive the high quality care they need. Rep. Beatty’s strong leadership in support of a robust and diverse medical workforce is vital at a time when some seek to dismiss the role that diversity, equity and inclusion play in positive patient outcomes and the quality of health care delivered.”

“Attempts to stymie diversity in medical education and training prioritize intolerance over innovation and only serve to worsen the health disparities that persist in this country. This tactic legislates a political narrative instead of engaging in an evidence-based debate, suppressing meaningful academic discourse and perpetuating systemic barriers to health equity,” said Congresswoman Beatty. “Research has conclusively proven that diversity in medicine leads directly to greater access to health care and better health outcomes for all Americans. With the endorsement of several medical organizations, I am proud to introduce this resolution alongside Congresswoman Castor to unequivocally support, defend, and embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion in medical education in the face of baseless efforts to eliminate these core pillars.”

“Medical schools are in the best position to identify how to prepare their students to meet the needs of the physician workforce and must have the autonomy and flexibility to do so,” said David J. Skorton, MD, President and CEO of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). “When a medical school recognizes the benefits associated with cultivating student belonging—fostering educational benefits associated with all types of diversity, ensuring equal educational opportunities for their students, and providing instruction on evidence-based knowledge they deem to be fundamental—it is within their purview and their responsibility to pursue those efforts.”

The resolution has been endorsed by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), American College of Physicians (ACP), National Medical Association (NMA), Gerontological Society of America, American College of Chest Physicians, Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), American Association of Clinical Endocrinology (AACE), HIV Medicine Association, Society of General Internal Medicine, American Society of Nephrology (ASN), American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI), American Society of Hematology (ASH), American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases, American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), Ohio Society of Addiction Medicine, American Geriatrics Society (AGS), American Thoracic Society, Renal Physicians Association, National Hispanic Health Foundation, National Hispanic Medical Association, and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.