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The Economist last week published an important piece on the ideology now influencing medical school curricula in the United States called Trans ideology is distorting the training of America’s doctors, with this ominous subtitle: Fear and ignorance are infecting medical education.
The article then documents instances in American medical schools where gender identity theory has displaced basic science in pedagogy. For instance, even though gender dysphoria is listed in the APA’s DSM 5, it is explicitly not taught as a mental illness, and essential facts about medical risks based on biology are being muddled.
Disturbingly, “an academic paediatrician (who did not want her name, institution or state to appear in this story) says that all medical students understand that they are expected to follow the affirmation model ‘uncritically and unquestioningly.’”
The Economist article examines why this is so, coming up with two reasons: “One (reflected in the fact that [no doctors] wanted their names published) is fear. Some trans-rights activists bully anyone who expresses concerns publicly. The other is ignorance. A paediatrician who teaches at a medical school in Florida says once doctors have finished their training, many pay scant attention to new medical research but rely on the media for information. In America there has been little coverage of the dangers of blockers or the woes of detransitioners.”
Such unscientific changes to what is being taught in medical schools that will directly influence the treatment of gender-questioning young people are not unique to the United States. It is also occurring at least in Canada, where the media has also been derelict in their duty to report in a balanced manner on the topic.
A Canadian academic physician shared the following anecdote with Genspect:
“It was informally shared with me that my lecture to first-year medical students on certain fundamental clinical competencies is going to be replaced by a lecture from an allied (non-MD) health professional who is going to give a talk on “gender-affirming care.” First-year med students are at least five years away from being able to prescribe medications or refer patients for surgery. This is not just “capacity-building” – it is plain and simple recruitment and indoctrination of young medical learners with ideology, not medical evidence. This is a distressing process to watch unfold, and I am powerless. I am told that faculty in nursing and social work are driving these curricular decisions in undergraduate medical education in the spirit of “team-based approaches” to medical practice. This means that people without MDs and often without experience scrutinizing clinical evidence are deciding that a poorly understood area of pediatric and adolescent medicine should be taught to med students by what are essentially acolytes of an ideology that will have significant impact on the future medical burden of individuals and this population.”
As the Economist article concludes: “It’s a problem… when doctors start believing that they can simply ignore medical evidence and scientific facts that they don’t like.”
Image credit: Tara Winstead, Pexels