English professors are criticizing medical doctors for their citation practices
Academics affiliated with Northeastern University in Massachusetts recently authored a piece arguing that the American Medical Association is “reinforcing a legacy of racism in medical knowledge” by not citing enough research from members of a Black medical organization in its academic journal’s opinion column.
None of the authors has a background in medical science.
Mya Poe, one of three authors, teaches English at Northeastern University and focuses her research on “equity and fairness” in science writing. Gwendolynne Reid, a second author, teaches English at Emory University.
Cherice Jones, an English grad student and third author, specializes in the “rhetorics of race at the intersection of language, writing, and health” with “special attention to representations of Black women in science” and “critical race studies.”
Their argument did not consider citations in academic research published by the AMA more generally, but only citations in their opinion section.
“The American Medical Association created a segregated ‘whites only’ environment more than 100 years ago to prohibit Black physicians from joining their ranks,” the piece explains “This exclusionary and racist policy prompted the creation in 1895 of the National Medical Association, a professional membership group that supported African American physicians and the patients they served. Today, the NMA represents more than 30,000 medical professionals.”
The authors go on to accuse today’s AMA of “invisible racism” for not citing findings from the Journal of the National Medical Association. Not all Black physicians, however, are affiliated with the National Medical Association, and Black physicians do not exclusively publish research in JNMA.
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Today’s National Medical Association is a left-leaning organization that has made statements promoting abortion, comparing the Dobbs decision to slavery.
By not citing research often enough from a specific journal, the authors charge the AMA with “in effect, uphold[ing] racial bias and segregation by ignoring JNMA findings.”
According to the authors, failure to cite JNMA research is causing tangible harm to the Black community. Failure to engage in “equitable citation practices,” they argue, exacerbates “health issues in underserved communities.”
In recent years, progressive activists have increased efforts to influence STEM disciplines.
In 2020, at the height of the unrest surrounding the death of George Floyd, academics across the country criticized science for being “weaponized against black people.” In a similar vein, Tulane’s medical school required all its psychiatric faculty to attend a DEI retreat late last year.
Going beyond individual bias, the authors accuse the AMA of “systematically ignor[ing]” research which “focuses on Black Americans’ health.” As a remedy, Jones et. al. recommend that journal editors “tell writers and editorial staff to prioritize citation practices,” which intentionally include research from the Black medical community.
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Despite the claims made by Jones, Poe, and Reid regarding the AMA’s alleged disregard for healthcare inequality, performing an advanced search for instances of the word “racism” on the Journal of the American Medical Association’s website nets 3,870 results.
Some of the first hits include AMA articles like “The Toll of Racism on African American Mothers and Their Infants,” “Perspectives on Anti-Black Racism and Mitigation Strategies Among Faculty Experts at Academic Medical Centers,” and “Perspectives on Racism in Health Care Among Black Veterans With Chronic Kidney Disease.”
Every individual mentioned above was reached out to for comment; this article will be updated accordingly.
Originally published by Campus Reform. Republished with permission.
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