Canada Says More Woke Curricula and Less Medicine for Medical Students
The biggest challenge faced by tomorrow’s doctors may not be something you can see under a microscope. In a report published last month, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada said medical students should spend less time studying medicine and more time studying “anti-oppression, anti-racism, and social justice.”
This outlandish suggestion is disturbingly similar to critical race theory, a controversial teaching method that insists racism is woven into every facet of American history, law, and modern life.
The Royal College, established in 1929 by Parliament, is a nonprofit, regulatory body that oversees medical education programs throughout Canada. The report in question was authored by the College’s “anti-racism expert working group,” which lists the following “values” as more important than “medical expertise” for physicians in training:
- Social justice and equity
- Inclusive compassion
(Because of course these are the topics about which a patient undergoing surgery hopes his doctor is most knowledgeable.)
Physicians and civilians alike are shocked by the report, with Montreal-based evolutionary behavioral scientist Gad Saad going so far as to describe the College’s ideas as ‘pathogens that will destroy the world.’
The report goes on to note that medical students should be taught to recognize ‘history in terms of the power structures that have come into existence over centuries which shape everything we do daily; for example, white supremacy, heteropatriarchy, and capitalism’ and claims current medical curricula focuses too strongly on “medical expertise.”
If the Royal College gets its way, the suggestions from its report will be implemented in 2025 when Canada next updates CanMEDS (its official framework for physician training).
“Patients expect competence from their physicians in diagnoses and treatment,” argues Dr. Roy Eappen, a practicing endocrinologist in Montreal and member of the medical watchdog group Do No Harm. “They expect compassion and a thorough knowledge of their field and the emerging knowledge in their fields. The Royal College has a long tradition of excellence in teaching and upholding the profession. The new proposals seem to abrogate that tradition of excellence. We do not do our patients or our profession any favors by taking our eyes off the real goal of patient care and wellness.
A similar but less dramatic shift is underway in the United States, with a prime example being the recently-published essay titled Antiracist Documentation Practices – Shaping Clinical Encounters and Decision Making by Dr. J.Corey Williams.
Williams, a graduate of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Yale University’s Psychiatry Residency Program who currently works at Georgetown University, insists the medical field must take steps to become less racist.
“Clinicians receive inconsistent instruction on how to use patients’ racial identities in clinical documentation and decision-making, and often document this information without clear reasons or an understanding of its relevance,” writes Williams. “We advocate not for more documentation, but for more thoughtful documentation, based on a critical awareness of how race is used and contextualized as a social and political category.”
The proposed changes would impact not only documentation protocol, but training programs, policies, organizational structures, attitudes, and doctor-patient interactions.
As noted by Do No Harm researcher Ian Kingsburg, the last thing doctors need is more paperwork.
“There is good evidence that paperwork burdens contribute to doctor burnout and dissatisfaction,” argues Kingsbury. “Policies that would exacerbate this problem are ill-advised…The best way to understand a person is by talking to them as a human being and not part of an identity group. The woke rituals for which these researchers advocate only undermine doctor-patient relationships.”