Presented by Richard Baker, M.D., Vice Chair of the Planning Committee on Exploring a Culture of Fairness, Respect, and Anti-Racism in Health Professions Education

Richard Baker
Richard Baker, M.D.
(Vice-Chair) Vice Dean for Medical Education, Professor of Ophthalmology, Wayne State University School of Medicine


DEI - diversity, equity, and inclusion - is not the same as “anti-racism”
Make a clear distinction between the DEI efforts and anti racism efforts. DEI is extremely important. It may be a pathway to or a platform for anti racism, however, progress related to DEI should not be substituted or conflated with the achievement of goals related to anti racism.


Race is not a biological construct
Race is not a biological construct, it is a social construct. Race as a biological construct is a pervasive and strongly held, but inaccurate belief and assumption. Science has definitively demonstrated that race is not based upon meaningful biology, it is at best a poor and often misleading proxy for real biological determinants of health, such as ancestry or genetic predisposition. Misrepresentation, particularly among our faculty and students is highly problematic and it's a basis for perpetuating false beliefs misinformation inappropriate curriculum and inappropriate care.


Health inequities stem from racism and not race
Health inequities experienced by specific marginalized race, ethnicity groups are primarily the product and consequences of racism and not race. Racism is a powerful social determinant of health. Despite the undeniably powerful impact of racism on health, historically, the term racism has been typically de-emphasized, ignored, or actively avoided in discussions related to health.


Distinguish between structural racism and interpersonal racism
It's useful to distinguish between structural and institutional racism versus interpersonal racism. Discussions, activities and proposed interventions germane to anti-racism efforts in the health education environment primarily focus on structural and institutional racism, as opposed to interpersonal racism carried out at the level of the individual.


Structural racism extends far beyond the educational environment
Given the reality that structural racism extends far beyond the educational environment today overarching questions are twofold. First, what is the role in the challenges of accreditors and recognizing and dismantling structural racism in the HP arena. Second, what is the role and the challenges of creditors and mitigating structural racism pervasive and highly damaging effects on students faculty and the patients, we serve.