Why have medical schools become a target for inculcating social policy when the stated purpose of medical education since Hippocrates has been to develop individuals who know how to cure patients?
A new wave of educational specialists is increasingly influencing medical education. They emphasize “social justice” that relates to health care only tangentially. This approach is the result of a progressive mind-set that abhors hierarchy of any kind and the social elitism associated with the medical profession in particular.
These educators focus on eliminating health disparities and ensuring that the next generation of physicians is well-equipped to deal with cultural diversity, which are worthwhile goals. But teaching these issues is coming at the expense of rigorous training in medical science. The prospect of this “new,” politicized medical education should worry all Americans.
The traditional American model of medical training, which has been emulated around the world, emphasizes a scientific approach to treatment and subjects students to rigorous classroom instruction. Students didn’t encounter patients until they had some fundamental knowledge of disease processes and knew how to interpret symptoms. They were expected to appreciate medical advances and be able to incorporate them into their eventual fields of practice. Medical education was demanding and occasionally led to student failure, but it produced a technically proficient and responsible physician corps for the U.S.