From the right, a different take on bias in medicine
The same day that Sally Satel, HS ’88, spoke on political correctness at the medical school, an Institute of Medicine (IOM) report alleging racial and ethnic bias in medicine hit the news. The report was, for Satel, a practicing psychiatrist and a fellow of the American Enterprise Institute, a perfect example of what she feels is going wrong with medicine. “I worry that residents,” she said, “are sometimes being taught to see patients as members of victim groups rather than individuals.” Political agendas, from both the right and left, she said, are fueling misperceptions about medicine. “No one is debating that there are health disparities or, in certain situations, different uses of certain procedures,” Satel told an audience at a Program for Humanities in Medicine lecture in March. “But the IOM report managed to leave out some studies that showed comparable outcomes in blacks and whites.” More important, there are almost no data comparing the treatment of minorities by minority doctors and white doctors, she said. “Alleging prejudice on the part of doctors with so little evidence is inflammatory and engenders distrust of the medical profession,” said Satel, author of PC, M.D.: How Political Correctness is Corrupting Medicine.