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Yale med school dean answers student demands for ‘anti-oppressive curricular reform’

Yale School of Medicine Dean Robert Alpern recently addressed the demands of 98 medical students, leading him to “propos[e] several new measures to improve the School’s diversity.”

He recommended a Chief Diversity Officer for the med school, and will ask the college’s Curriculum Committee “to assess teaching related to health disparities and social justice issues, as well as support University training of medical school administrators to better recognize and combat racism and bias.”

The 98 students had submitted a letter to the dean back on November 16 which included six demands and 35 “sub demands.”

They include a call for an “anti-oppressive” curriculum, and “diversification of the faculty and student bodies and a new means of reporting biases to the school’s administration.”

The Yale Daily News reports:

Alpern said the subjection of certain students at the medical school to microaggressions and other negative behavior was “intolerable for them” and “unacceptable to everyone at Yale School of Medicine.” He also referenced last week’s message from University President Peter Salovey to the Yale community entitled “Toward a Better Yale,” adding that the school of medicine “wholeheartedly supports the president’s commitment to building a better, more diverse, and more inclusive Yale.”

In addressing the issue of faculty diversity at the medical school, Alpern said that despite the administration’s commitment to diversifying the faculty, efforts toward this have not been as successful as hoped.

“The medical school administration has long recognized the need to expand the diversity of the School’s faculty, but while their commitment to this aim has been great, success at recruiting a more diverse faculty has not,” Alpern wrote in the email.

Alpern added that he was “committed to an institutional process” through which the (med) school’s curriculum would be examined — to determine whether it “adequately addresses issues of structural racism and health inequity.”

Hey, wouldn’t you want to see a doctor who took classes that were “anti-oppressive” in nature … instead of concentrating on things like anatomy, physiology etc. ?

Read the full article.

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 20 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.