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Opinion: Missouri Healthcare Must Put Patients—Not Identity Politics—First

What do Missourians expect from our higher education system? The answer, of course, is the highest quality education possible. Yet some of our state’s medical schools apparently have a different answer. They’re emphasizing divisive woke indoctrination over the excellent education that’s necessary for saving lives. So, I’m taking action to protect patients and ensure our medical schools uphold the highest standards.

The decline of our state’s medical schools was made clear by a recent expose on the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. A lecturer was caught declaring that students shouldn’t debate her on matters of “systemic oppression” and Critical Race Theory, which is a divisive ideology that sees racism basically everywhere and in everyone. The lecturer warned that if students dared contradict her, she would “shut that [expletive] down real fast.”

This incident is far from unique. The medical schools at Washington University and the University of Missouri are spending more and more time – and more and more taxpayer dollars – on “diversity, equity, and inclusion” as well as so-called “anti-racism.” These divisive concepts are used to justify outright racial discrimination, supposedly in pursuit of righting past wrongs. The leading proponent of anti-racism has explicitly stated that “future discrimination” is in fact necessary and praiseworthy.

What does this have to do with teaching the next generation of physicians? Absolutely nothing. Instead, it has everything to do with indoctrinating them in divisive ideology – turning them into activists instead of excellent physicians. The health and well-being of Missouri patients hangs in the balance.

Sadly, what’s happening in Missouri is part of a nationwide trend to corrupt medical education. In service to these dangerous ideas, medical schools are increasingly demanding that students spend precious time learning about divisive and politicized concepts, which means less time studying medicine. They’re also hiring and promoting faculty who pledge allegiance to identity politics, instead of just demonstrating their medical and teaching expertise. Medical schools in some cases are even lowering admissions standards in the name of “diversity,” while discriminating against applicants based on their race. All of this threatens the quality of care patients receive from future physicians.

As a state, we can’t let this happen. That’s why I’ve introduced a bill to save Missouri’s medical schools and the patients who depend on them. I’m calling it the “Do No Harm Act,” in reference to physicians’ Hippocratic Oath, and I will push to make it law within the next year.

My bill would stop the decline and corruption of our medical schools. To start, it would require every taxpayer-funded Missouri medical school to get the legislature’s approval before lowering standards for admission. This policy is common sense: Medical schools should look for the best qualified students, because they will provide the best care as physicians.

My bill would also stop taxpayer-funded medical schools from forcing applicants, students, and faculty to hold political views on matters like Critical Race Theory and diversity, equity, and inclusion. The schools would also have to publish their course materials in a public database, so taxpayers can learn exactly what medical students are being taught. These policies are essential to ensuring that medical schools teach medicine, not radical ideology. And beyond education, my bill would prevent state medical boards from forcing physicians and nurses to take woke training to receive or keep their license. Medical professionals should focus on treating individual patients, not identity politics.

These protections need to be put in state law as soon as possible. Missouri’s medical schools are rushing down the road of divisive woke ideology, endangering patient health on the taxpayer’s dime. Medical students deserve better, and so does every Missourian who will one day receive treatment at their hands. It’s time to ensure our medical schools uphold the physicians’ creed of “Do No Harm.”