NBME Responds to Supreme Court’s Ruling on Affirmative Action

Posted June 30, 2023

NBME recognizes the importance of driving diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) throughout the medical education continuum. The journey to creating a diverse and culturally competent physician workforce can begin as soon as aspiring physicians enter a classroom – even grade school experiences can have a lifelong impact. This continues throughout their entire educational career, residency selection and training. A diverse and culturally competent physician workforce can improve patient outcomes and reduce health care disparities for historically marginalized communities.

NBME routinely engages the medical education community to find out how we can best support developing the next generation of physicians. All future and practicing physicians deserve equitable opportunities to learn and demonstrate their knowledge, skills and behaviors. Their patients deserve the same fairness and equity in the care they receive.

The Supreme Court’s recent decisions in Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina and Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard University restrict the ability [of colleges and universities] to use affirmative action in admissions decisions. The decisions could hinder the progress that has been made to increase the racial diversity of U.S. physicians, which ultimately harms patient care.

Considering these decisions, NBME holds firm to our commitment to equity within medical education. NBME has a long history of making investments that support the medical education and assessment communities. We provide support for pathway programs and resources for underrepresented and underserved learners in medicine and measurement in order to continue building our contributions and fostering our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. NBME has been convening with the medical education community to advance approaches that promote equity and alleviate bias in assessment. On April 25-26, 2023, NBME co-sponsored the inaugural Equity in Measurement and Assessment Conference (EMAC) with the American Board of Medical Specialties, the American Board of Internal Medicine and the Association of American Medical Colleges. NBME will work with these partners to more broadly share the content that can make the greatest impact for medical education.

Despite the challenge that the recent decisions present, we are confident the commitment of many, including NBME, to furthering diversity, equity, and inclusion will not cease.

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