A lawmaker proposed a bill that would ban DEI in medical schools. Doctors say it could roll back progress toward improving Black maternal health.


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By Nicquel Terry Ellis, CNN

Medical professionals and health equity advocates worry that proposed laws that target DEI programs in medical schools could roll back progress toward building medical school courses that are inclusive of all identities (SDI Productions/E+/Getty Images).

Dr. Versha Pleasant has dedicated her career to finding ways to erase the racial health inequities facing Black mothers.

A clinical assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Michigan Medical School, Pleasant said she developed a curriculum that teaches the history of racism in obstetrics and gynecology in the US.

The curriculum was part of a pilot project and covered James Marion Sims— a doctor who once performed experimental surgeries on enslaved Black women without anesthesia, Pleasant said.

This treatment, she added, inspired the false belief that Black women can withstand greater amounts of pain than White women.

While Pleasant says she didn’t teach the material this year, she fears her efforts to reintroduce it could be challenged if a new bill targeting DEI efforts in federally-funded medical schools medical schools passes. 

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