All aspiring doctors must take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) in order to be properly licensed. In 2015, the Association of American Medical Colleges revised the test, for the first time in twenty-five years. You can imagine that the world has changed in unthinkable ways since the test was originally designed, so people waited with bated breath to find out what the new test would be like.
The most notable change dealt with the length. The exam now will last eight or more hours, as opposed to five. This, of course, caused a great deal of angst for the future doctors. However, what else has changed other than the fact that it will take a lot longer? The Weekly Standard has the details of the test’s new ideological bent… and how this might “fundamentally alter the way medical schools assess applicants.” That doesn’t sound good. Here are the details:
Dr. Darrell Kirch, president and CEO of the AAMC, expressed his vision in a candid 2011 speech at the University of California, Davis: “I am a man on a mission. I believe it is critical to our future to transform health care. I’m not talking about tweaking it. I’m not talking about some nuanced improvements here and there. I’m talking about true transformation.”
I’m pretty thankful for the medical care we can receive in the United States. I’m not sure a “total transformation” is what we need. Here’s more about that transformation:
A series of new guidelines (some of which have yet to be implemented) called on medical school admissions teams to place less emphasis on applicants’ grades, changed the requirements for letters of recommendation, and altered the standardized application by requesting a great deal more information about students’ upbringing and life experiences. The AAMC is also planning to add “situational judgment tests”—carefully crafted interviews in which applicants will be presented with a variety of hypothetical scenarios involving ethical conflicts—to the current admissions requirements. Along with the new MCAT, these changes are part of Kirch’s plan to shift the focus of medical-school admissions toward a “new excellence,” a standard based less on test scores and more on “the attitudes, values, and experiences” of applicants.
Kirch often insists that social justice is the neglected core tenet of medical ethics; in a 2015 essay, he praised the White Coats for Black Lives movement, a medical-student organization inspired by Black Lives Matter, for “sparking dialogue rather than division” by “staging on-campus die-ins.” White Coats for Black Lives lobbies, among other things, for the creation of “national medical school curricular standards” that would mandate the teaching of “structural racism” and “unconscious racial bias” in medical schools.
I don’t know about you, but I’d rather had a doctor who made good grades than a doctor who has “the right attitudes.” Especially when you begin to wonder who is actually going to be judging the right “attitudes.”
Hat Tip: Weekly Standard
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