HomeHealth Care NewsAMA Pushes Physicians to Embrace Woke Speak

AMA Pushes Physicians to Embrace Woke Speak

As the United States tries to cope with a growing shortage of physicians, nurses, first responders, and other medical personal, the American Medical Association (AMA) has decided this is the appropriate time for doctors to adopt speech codes that reflect the prevailing narrative of woke culture.

In partnership with the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) Center for Health Justice, the AMA has released a new, 54-page document, “Advancing Health Equity: A Guide to Language, Narrative and Concepts,” which it says “promotes a deeper understanding of equity-focused, first-person language and why it matters.”

The guide was created” to give a fresh perspective about the language we commonly use, and to recognize the harmful effects of dominant narratives in medicine.” A foretaste of the AMA/AAMC’s foray into the world of wokeness is provided in the guide’s preface.

“The AAMC and AMA understand that while the goal of health equity is inclusive of all communities, it cannot be achieved without explicit recognition and reconciliation of our country’s twin, fundamental injustices of genocide and forced labor. We must remember that we carry our ancestors within us, and we are continually called to be better as we lead this work toward the pursuit of racial justice, equity and liberation,” states the guide.

Having set the tone, the document’s authors, whom we are told are physicians and unspecified “health professions,” set about injecting transformative language into everyday medical discourse. “Central to this work,” the document explains, “is a consideration of our language, and the narratives that shape our thinking.”

“Narratives grounded in white supremacy and sustaining structural racism, for example, perpetuate cumulative disadvantage for some populations and cumulative advantage for white people, and especially white men,” the guide goes on. “Patriarchal narratives enforce rigidly defined traditional norms, and reinforce inequities based on gender. Narratives that uncritically center meritocracy and individualism render invisible the very real constraints generated and reinforced by poverty, discrimination and ultimately exclusion.”

“Develop a Critical Consciousness”

To counter this dominant narrative, the guide supports critically examining the language used in communication.  In this way, health inequities – “defined as differences in health that are avoidable, systematic, measurable and unjust” – can be swept away as physicians and other health workers “develop a critical consciousness of the root causes and structural drivers” undergirding contemporary society.

Conventional phrasing should give way to equity-focused language. Here are two examples: “Native Americans have the highest mortality rates in the United States.”  This should be replaced by: “Dispossessed by the government of their land and culture, Native Americans have the highest mortality rates in the United States.”

Similarly, “Low-income people have the highest level of coronary heart disease in the United States” should be replaced by: “People underpaid and forced into poverty as a result of banking policies, real estate developers gentrifying neighborhoods, and companies weakening the power of labor movements, among others, have the highest level of coronary disease in the United States.”

Nowhere in the document is it made clear how AMA’s advocacy of a highly politicized concept of health equity and the organization’s prescribed speech codes will improve the care of patients in need.

Mandatory Woke Training

Michigan is one state where physicians must complete between one and two hours of woke training to get or renew their medical license.

The Detroit Medical Center Graduate Medical Education Office and the Quality Improvement Institute hosted one such training event on November 17 via Zoom. The session was entitled “LGBTQ+ 101: Creating an Inclusive Organization,” and featured Kathleen Redmon of Affirmations LGBTQ+ Community Center.

In her over 90-minute presentation, Redmon schooled her audience on the intricacies of using proper vocabulary in addressing matters relating to sex and gender. She differentiated between the two by saying sex was assigned to a person at birth, usually by physicians and parents, based on biological characteristics. Gender, on the other hand, is more a matter of the heart and mind.  In some people, she explained, sex and gender are not aligned, and she advised medical professionals to use proper language in addressing such people.

Saying gender is a “spectrum, defined by the individual,” Redmon went through a laundry list of the various gender categories, including transgender, cisgender, nonbinary, gender-fluid, gender nonconforming, etc.  While acknowledging she had no background in medicine, she said in some cases hormone treatments and surgery could be beneficial. Otherwise, care should be taken to use the proper pronouns in addressing these people, using only those pronouns preferred by members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Medical professionals were further advised to avoid situations that could make LGBTQ+ people uncomfortable. When treating women of childbearing age, for example, it is better not to ask them if they are pregnant.  To this, a black female physician responded that she felt it was her responsibility to ask such a question and that she would have these women “pee in a cup.”

Not So Benign

The AMA has become a fringe organization that no longer works to protect the patient-physician relationship, says Julio Gonzalez, M.D., J.D., a former Florida state representative who is forming an alternative professional organization, the United States Medical Association (USMA).

“The implications of what used to be the nation’s principal physician organization taking on this divisive and irresponsible tack are monumental,” Gonzalez told Health Care News. “Essentially, it means that until the USMA can develop a big enough footprint to loudly engage in the national debate on healthcare, there is no voice calling for reasoned, intelligent, healthcare policies that will once again make America’s healthcare system the standard for the rest of the world to emulate. Instead, our healthcare professionals will continue to devolve inside this nonsensical woke vortex when they should be engaged in caring for the patients and ridding people of disease.”

Gonzalez says the AMA has bigger priorities. “….issues like promoting independent physician practices, developing alternative models of healthcare funding independent of government, employers or third-party payers, curbing the dangerous the nation’s scope of practice expansion trends, curtailing the outlandish costs of prescription medications, (and) addressing the paucity of domestic manufacturing,” said Gonzalez.

 

Bonner R. Cohen, Ph.D., (bcohen@nationalcenter.org) is a senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research.

This article was updated on December 6, 2021.

Bonner R Cohen
Bonner R Cohen
Bonner R. Cohen is a senior fellow with the National Center for Public Policy Research, a position he has held since 2002.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Besides the issues brought out in this excellent article, consider page nine of the AAMC and the AMA’s guide where it has the List of Commonly Used Words/Phrases and Equity-Focused Alternatives. From which I quote, “After years of debate, the Associated Press recommendation is clear: lowercase black denotes a color, not a person.”

    That’s well-written. However, the Equity-focused alternative to Caucasian is listed as lowercase “white.” Lowercase white is also a color. The double standard here is dehumanizing and offensive.

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