The American Medical Association recently released a guide on "Advancing Health Equity" that promotes how to fight for critical race theory, includes a list of words not to say and their "equity-focused alternatives," and criticizes concepts like "meritocracy," "individualism" and the "'free' market."
The 55-page document released on Oct. 28 cites a guide by the organization Race Forward for how to advocate for critical race theory (CRT), which is called "Guide to Counter-Narrating the Attacks on Critical Race Theory."
The health equity guide argues physicians cannot eliminate "health inequities" by "focus[ing] only on individuals, their behavior or their biology." It says they instead must focus on language and collective political circumstances of certain groups.
"Given the deep divides that exist between groups in the United States, understanding and empathy can be extremely challenging for many because of an inability to really ‘walk a mile in another’s shoes’ in a racialized sense," a preface to the American Medical Association (AMA) guide says. "Collectively, we have an opportunity and obligation to overcome these fissures and create spaces for understanding and healing."
The guide's release comes amid culture war battles over what critical race theory is, whether it's really being taught and advanced by schools and other institutions, and whether its tenets should be adopted broadly by society.
"This is just the latest front in the Left’s campaign to inject Critical Race Theory into every corner of America," Jessica Anderson, executive director for the conservative Heritage Action, which has vocally opposed CRT, told Fox News.
"This document, published by the largest medical association in the country, is a brazen attempt to politicize the medical field and subject health care workers to far-Left speech police," Anderson added. "While the Left continues to falsely claim that CRT isn’t real, Americans are noticing what’s happening, and they’re fighting back. From the waiting room to the classroom, families are standing up to reject this racist ideology."
AMA President Gerald Harmon explained the reasoning behind the guide in a blog post when it was released on Oct. 28.
"As with science, our language must change and evolve over time based on new revelations and a deeper understanding," he wrote.
"The dominant narratives in American medicine and society reflect the values and interests of the historically more privileged socioeconomic groups—white, heterosexual, able-bodied, cisgendered, male, wealthy, English-speaking, Christian, U.S.-born," Harmon continued. "These narratives have been deeply rooted in value systems and ingrained in cultural practices that have given preference to the interests of society’s most powerful social groups. But they can also be wielded as a weapon to oppress others."
Harmon added: "That is the case, for example, with the use of adjectives that dehumanize individuals by reducing them to their diagnosis—simply referring to a patient living with diabetes as a ‘diabetic’—or that unfairly labels groups of people as ‘vulnerable’ to chronic disease while ignoring the entrenched power structures, such as racism, that have put them at higher risk."
In a subsequent statement to Fox News, Harmon said, "The AMA is working to dismantle racist policies and practices across all of health care – and our nation. To achieve these goals, the AMA does not endorse or embrace any single theory or perspective – we look at the significant body of evidence on how we can reduce health disparities of Americans."
The AMA did not directly address a question about whether the political nature of the equity guide is appropriate for such a prominent medical organization.
"A health equity narrative grounded in equity and a social justice framework also would... Expose the political roots underlying apparently 'natural' economic arrangements, such as property rights, market conditions, gentrification, oligopolies and low wage rates," a line from the guide reads.
The equity guidance also dedicates significant space to terms and phrases doctors should not use and suggests alternatives.
The guide says doctors should not say "Low-income people have the highest level of coronary artery disease in the United States."
Instead, it says, doctors should phrase the same idea like this: "People underpaid and forced into poverty as a result of banking policies, real estate developers gentrifying neighborhoods, and corporations weakening the power of labor movements, among others, have the highest level of coronary artery disease."
Rather than using the word "fairness," the guide suggests doctors say "social justice." This is because, it says, fairness "pays no attention to how power relations in society establish themselves but primarily emphasizes outcomes within a pre-given set of rules."
"An important distinction separates the ideas of social justice, which is a standard of rightness, and fairness, which is a more limited concept," the guide says. "Fairness is a hope for an outcome."
There are dozens of other examples in the document. The guide also features nearly a full page at its beginning of a "Land and Labor Acknowledgement."
"The Association of American Medical Colleges’ headquarters is located in Washington, D.C., the traditional homelands of the Nacotchtank, Piscataway and Pamunkey people," it says. "The American Medical Association’s headquarters is located in the Chicago area on taken ancestral lands of indigenous tribes, such as the Council of the Three Fires…, as well as the Miami, Ho-Chunk, Menominee, Sac, Fox, Kickapoo and Illinois Nations."
The preface to the document adds: "The AAMC and AMA also acknowledge the extraction of brilliance, energy and life for labor forced upon millions of people of African descent for more than 400 years."
The AMA is not the first major institution to back the critical race theory document from Race Forward. The Philadelphia Federal Reserve has pushed its own critical race theory materials and linked from its website to the Race Forward guide for critical race theory advocacy.
Critical race theory has become a major animating factor in American politics. A Fox News voter analysis of the Virginia governor's race last week showed that one-quarter of voters cited the CRT debate as the single most important factor on their minds when they cast their votes. Among those voters, 71% voted for Republican Glenn Youngkin, who won the election.
Fox News' Victoria Balara contributed to this report.