Achieving diversity in the medical field has always been a challenge.

What You Need To Know

  • Rep. Greg Murphy introduced a bill to keep diversity-related programs out of medical schools

  • The bill would strip federal funding from medical schools that have DEI offices

  • The bill is called the EDUCATE Act

Although nearly 14% of the U.S. population is Black, the Association of American Medical Colleges found the number of practicing Black physicians in 2022 was only around 6%. The divide is even greater for Hispanics.

“We really think that having a physician workforce that better represents the nation we would begin to help address the health disparities that exist,” said Fitzhugh Mullan Institute for Health Workforce Equity Lead Research Scientist Edward Salsberg at George Washington University. “I don’t think anyone is saying you have to have an exact match … what we’re really looking at is the wideness of that gap."

But some say medical schools aiming to boost diversity and diversity education have gone too far with diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).

“When it comes down to patient care, DEI can even lead to harmful, if not deadly consequences,” Republican Rep. Greg Murphy of North Carolina said.

Tuesday, Murphy, who’s also a practicing urologist, introduced a bill to keep diversity-related programs out of medical schools.

“We all want our medical schools and our physicians to be diverse. I believe that strengthens us. But when you do it at the expense of merit, when you do it at the expense of excellence, when you add discrimination into the entire process, you’re destroying what is I believe the most trustworthy profession in all professions,” Murphy said.

The bill would strip federal funding, including student loans, from medical schools that have DEI offices, teach about things like white supremacy and people being oppressed and offer scholarships designed for students of specific races.

“Let’s get back to training the future medical professionals, away from radical policies that despite their names, divide and exclude,” said Republican Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks of Iowa.

“Just because you have a DEI program doesn’t mean you’re admitting or supporting unqualified students. It’s really supporting students,” Salsberg said.

Salsberg said passage of the bill, called the EDUCATE Act, would be a major setback for increasing representation in the medical field.

The bill is unlikely to pass in a divided Congress.

The Association of American Medical Colleges Opposes the bill and told Spectrum News 1 the presence of DEI in curriculum “is intended to train the next generation of physicians to respond most appropriately to the rapidly diversifying populations that they will serve.”