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University Of Pittsburgh Cardiologist Is Stripped From Fellowship Program After Criticizing Affirmative Action
A sign points to areas on the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center campus in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S., on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2008.
Kevin Lorenzi/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A cardiologist who was on the staff of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center was removed from a fellowship program after he published a paper criticizing affirmative action efforts, the University Times reported.

Norman Wang’s paper, originally published in the Journal of the American Heart Association (JAHA) on March 24 and later redacted by JAHA in August after it elicited blowback, stated that there “exists no empirical evidence by accepted standards for causal inference to support the mantra that ‘diversity saves lives,’” adding, “Long-term academic solutions and excellence should not be sacrificed for short-term demographic optics.”

On August 6, Senior Vice Chancellor for the Health Sciences and Dean of the School of Medicine Anantha Shekhar tweeted:

A peer-reviewed journal recently published an article, authored by a member of the University community, that expressed views against equity and inclusivity. These views do not reflect the values of the University of Pittsburgh and its School of Medicine or our proud pursuit of disseminating knowledge for the public good. … As an institution and a community, we do not condone racism or discrimination of any kind, and we remain absolutely committed to realizing a more inclusive and equitable environment for all.

In the paper, Wang stated:

The current model for racial and ethnic diversity is practically untenable, if not simply for the inevitability of what has been called the “demographic tsunami.” The United States is no longer composed of virtually all whites and blacks. Because of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which abolished the National Origins Formula, nonwhite racial and ethnic groups are projected to become more than half of the population by 2050 …

Fracturing of the model has already begun. In 2018, Reginald Baugh, MD, argued that recent African immigrants and Afro Caribbeans should be excluded from the African American group, stating, “Just because a medical school applicant immigrated to the United States does not make her or him an underrepresented minority in medicine or an African American. The failure to recognize these differences lead to unwarranted conclusions about the future number and availability of African American physicians …”

Racial and ethnic preferences at both the undergraduate and professional school levels for blacks and Hispanics result in relatively weak academic starting positions in classes. This has been postulated to lead to poor performance through compounding “academic mismatch,” stress-related interference, and disengagement. Many do not complete their intended programs or do not attain academic success to be attractive candidates for subsequent educational programs or employment.

Over the past 5 decades, the American medical academy has striven to achieve racial and ethnic population parity. Recent affirmative action efforts through diversity, inclusion, and equity programs recognize neither changes in legal limitations, nor data indicating harm to underrepresented minorities. Long-term academic solutions and excellence should not be sacrificed for short-term demographic optics.

Prominent individuals from historically discriminated groups have voiced opposition to affirmative action. Arthur Ashe, the tennis champion, stated, “If American society had the strength to do what should have been done to ensure that justice prevails for all, then affirmative action would be exposed for what it is: an insult to the people it is intended to help. What I and others want is an equal chance, under one set of rules, as on a tennis court. To be sure, while rules are different for different people, devices like affirmative action are needed to prevent explosions of anger. Practically, affirmative action is probably necessary. But I would not want to know that I received a job simply because I am black. Affirmative action tends to undermine the spirit of individual initiative. Such is human nature; why struggle to succeed when you can have something for nothing?”

Wang concluded, “Racial and ethnic preferences for undergraduate and medical school admissions should be gradually rolled back with a target end year of 2028, as suggested by the Supreme Court decision in Grutter. … As Fitzgerald envisioned, ‘We will have succeeded when we no longer think we require black doctors for black patients, chicano doctors for chicano patients, or gay doctors for gay patients, but rather good doctors for all patients.’ Evolution to strategies that are neutral to race and ethnicity is essential. Ultimately, all who aspire to a profession in medicine and cardiology must be assessed as individuals on the basis of their personal merits, not their racial and ethnic identities.”

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