In keeping with the high value that the Physician Assistant Education Association places on diversity, equity, and inclusion, PAEA fully endorses the statement made by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) in response to the Trump Administration’s September 22 executive order. The order was purportedly combating what it described as “offensive and anti-American race and sex stereotyping and scapegoating” in trainings aimed at federal employees, contractors, or others supported by federal grant money.
The PAEA Board of Directors met on September 27 to review the executive order and determined that PAEA could not remain silent in response to the administration’s action. We believe that diversity and inclusion training programs have a valuable place in the work that we must all continue to do to bring about a more just and inclusive society, particularly in light of the social justice movement that has been given new impetus by the murder of George Floyd. Now is the time to lean into this work, not to undercut it.
The Board carefully reviewed the AAMC statement in response to the executive order and agreed wholeheartedly with AAMC that:
“Only through better understanding of our conscious and unconscious biases, learning about other cultures in our pluralistic society, reaffirming our commitment to being anti-racist, and challenging long-held beliefs — that we hold ourselves and that we hold about others — will we heal the divisions now shaking our nation to its core.”
As an education association committed to learning, PAEA encourages all member programs to continue to affirm the importance of learning about unconscious biases and how they can affect our views on race and culture. It is especially important for those charged with the responsibility of educating future clinicians to encourage students to reflect on their biases and ensure that they bring open minds to a health care system that still suffers from significant racial and ethnic health care disparities.
We encourage members to visit the AAMC’s Frequently Asked Questions page that it created for its members.
This statement was developed by PAEA President Howard Straker and Chief Executive Officer Mary Jo Bondy with input from the Board of Directors.
As a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, PAEA does not endorse or oppose any candidate for elected office. Nor do any of the recommendations contained in this piece constitute legal advice.