In reaction to the recent controversy, the American Medical Association (AMA) on Thursday announced a series of steps it will take to promote diversity, equity and inclusion within the medical society and its network of 12 influential journals.
Dr. Howard Bauchner, editor in chief of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), retires in late June, forced by controversial statements by one of his MPs in February.
The Deputy Director, Dr. Ed Livingston, argued in a JAMA podcast that structural racism no longer exists in the United States or in the field of medicine.
These claims were “wrong, wrong and misinformed.” JAMA he said in a editorial published online June 3rd. “A broad evidence base strongly supports the presence of structural racism in medicine and its adverse influence on health.”
Bauchner and his editorial team have apologized for the podcast and a related tweet, taking responsibility for a faulty review process that allowed it to air.
“These events and developments make it clear JAMA and the JAMA Net magazines can and should do better and move towards inclusion and anti-racism in all magazinerelated activities, “the publisher said.” While these journals have progressed, additional commitment and work is needed to deepen and intensify these efforts to achieve meaningful and sustainable change. “
Together with the publisher, the AMA outlined a number of guidelines for improving its response to systemic racism. They include:
- Fent diversity, equity and inclusion of mission statements of JAMA and their online journals.
- Appoint an equity editorial director who will report directly to the JAMA editor-in-chief and a diversity committee that will monitor progress.
- Convene a multidisciplinary summit to promote diversity.
- Improving diversity among publishers, editorial boards, advisory committees and drafting of JAMA and network magazines.
- Expanding the editorial scholarship program and conducting seminars on scientific writing, to promote participation among underrepresented groups.
- Promote and publish more research on diversity, equity and inclusion, including reviewers and opinion authors with experience in diversity issues.
The firestorm began on Feb. 24 when Livingston – who is white – said structural racism “is an unfortunate term” in a podcast.
“Personally, I think getting racism out of the conversation will help. A lot of people like me are offended by the involvement that we are somehow racist,” Livingston said in a conversation that did not include scientists of color.
A tweet from the magazine along with the podcast went further: “No doctor is racist, so how can there be structural racism in health care?”
In the face of immediate and intense criticism, JAMA deleted the podcast and deleted the tweet. Bauchner apologized a week later, and Livingston later resigned, but critics demanded further action.
In an interview with The New York Times, Dr. Uché Blackstock, an emergency medicine doctor in New York City, said the podcast and the tweet should never have happened.
“The fact that the podcast was conceived, recorded and published was unconscious,” Blackstock told Time.
The AMA has long faced the issue of race. According to the Time, it took until 2008 to apologize to the medical society for their previous exclusion of black doctors from membership and for their tacit support for segregationist policies.
“Actually, I’m glad they showed their biases to the world, because a lot of us have experienced these biases with JAMA for a while now, ”she told Dr. Melissa Simon, who is Latin Time. She is director of the Center for Health Equity Information at Northwestern University and a member of the U.S. Preventive Services Working Group.
Simon recounted his struggle for research on high mortality rates among pregnant black women published in JAMA. The magazine eventually rejected his work after rounds of reviews that included cutting out the word “racism” from the article and diluting the findings, he said.
Thursday’s editorial is published JAMA previous efforts to promote diversity, noting that journals have published more than 650 research, review, and opinion articles on race, racism, and racial and ethnic disparities and inequalities.
Despite this, JAMA has ways to go in staff diversity.
Among the 346 editors and members of the editorial board JAMA and its online magazines, 71% are white; 19%, Asian; 6%, black; and 4%, Hispanic, noted the publisher. About 38% are women, including four editors in chief of four Network JAMA magazines.
“Everything is for the good. The intersection between society, health and equity is clear and deals structurally racism, including medical journalism, is essential for improving health “, JAMA say the guidelines. “Change is a dynamic process and input is a key factor in change.”
The New England Journal of Medicine has more information structural racism.
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Citation: Following the resignation of the editor-in-chief, JAMA magazines describe the steps to address racism (2021, June 3) recovered on June 3, 2021 at https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-06-editor -in-chief-resignation-jama -journals-outline.html
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