AMSA calls on the ACGME to Conduct a Formal Investigation into Racist and Discriminatory Practices in Graduate Medical Education

June 27, 2023

by The AMSA Board of Trustees, special mentions to Avanthi Jayaweera, Annelise Silva, Adjoa Cofie, Alexander Costa, Tyra-Lee Brett, Andres Diaz

The American Medical Student Association (AMSA) would like to thank Dr. R. Ray Jr. for publically detailing his experience with racism during his residency education, as detailed in his blog post, Racism in Medical Education: An Unfortunate Ending To My Time At Lehigh Valley Health Network. The reported willful dismissal of racist and discriminatory practices is disgusting and atrocious. We recognize that this is only one example of many that impact Black and Brown medical trainees in medical education. We would like to express our solidarity with Dr. Ray. AMSA calls on the ACGME (Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education) to conduct a formal and thorough investigation of these incidents. 

AMSA stands firmly against any form of racism, discrimination, or bias within the medical profession. At AMSA, we recognize that there are other incredible organizations and individuals who are leaders in antiracist work. We are committed to learning from and collaborating with allies in this space. Together, we can catalyze conversations and actions that can dismantle the pathology of racism in medicine.

We urge institutions, including the ACGME, to implement reporting systems that are followed by meaningful action. These reporting systems should guarantee confidentiality, protection against retaliation, and a thorough investigation by a third party. Medical trainees need more robust protections and the ACGME should demand corrective actions when trainees are mistreated. 

Additionally, medical schools and residency programs must provide education and training on cultural humility, unconscious bias, and the importance of fostering a diverse and inclusive learning environment. We must create a safe and inclusive culture for all trainees and not host DEI sessions simply to complete a “checkbox”. Medical institutions must evaluate their practices, policies, and culture to ensure an environment that fosters diversity, inclusion, and equity.

We cannot stand idle as those who are experiencing mistreatment, discrimination, and racism speak up in isolation. All healthcare workers have a responsibility to challenge and confront structural and overt racism. Allyship in these spaces and refusal to be silent in situations of overt and subversive discrimination is indispensable and our moral responsibility.

To medical trainees who have experienced or witnessed racism, discrimination, or bias, we encourage you to share your experiences, as you can safely. If medical leadership teams are committed to creating more diverse and inclusive environments, the sharing of these experiences must be followed by meaningful and public action. We cannot afford to have “silent” allies in the pursuit of dismantling institutional racism. We need bold and effective action.

AMSA stands in solidarity with Dr. Ray and with all individuals who have experienced and continue to experience racism and discrimination in the workplace. We need more doctors like Dr. Ray, who shed light on discriminatory practices and further exemplify the type of leadership that is desperately needed in the field of medicine. Others, specifically those who hold more privilege and power in these spaces, are absolutely crucial to challenge these racist systems. Only when we face institutional racism head-on, can we begin to build the equitable healthcare system that our country needs.