OMA Statement on Affirmative Action Decision
August 10, 2023
Like many medical associations across the country, the Oregon Medical Association has dedicated itself to standing up for diversity and equity principles in health care. We view our role simply to both advocate and educate through evidence-based knowledge for meaningful change in our health care system including our educational process for emerging physicians and physician assistants that eliminates the negative impact of discrimination based upon an individual’s race. Advocating for training of a diverse workforce that understands the needs of individual patients will help reduce inequities in health outcomes”.
While we too believe in the federal constitutional concept of equal protection, we believe the recent U.S. Supreme Court opinion in Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fellows of Harvard College was a dramatic setback to progress made over decades of work in our American schools to ensure that being an individual in a racial minority is not a disadvantage. While the Court did not find a compelling reason to allow Harvard and the University of North Carolina to continue to use race as a factor in making admissions decisions, we clearly see compelling reasons to continue the hard work of making diversity, equity and inclusion a priority in medicine. We are deeply concerned about the reversal Students for Fair Admissions represents and urge medical and physician assistant schools to engage in productive and long-lasting recruitment of racially diverse students as early as elementary and high school.
Through the leadership of its members, the OMA will continue to work on positive policies such as our 2021 Equity Task Force Recommendations that specifically set forth recommendations for pathways into medicine. We acknowledge there is still work to do and welcome any member or future member to help us in our work.