An article in the Tulsa World relayed the proceedings of a conference called “Beyond Flexner:  Social Mission in Medical Education.”  This was sponsored in part by the University of Oklahoma School of Community Medicine.  You can read about the original Flexner Report here.  This report, a dream come true for the American Medical Association, closed most medical schools, threw women and minorities out of medical schools, increased the price of medical care (due to a deliberately engineered shortage of physicians) and changed medical education in this country to mirror the socialist European model.  Flexner was the son of German immigrants and so it should come as no surprise that his ideas for what was needed here were heavily influenced by the health care system designed by the predecessor to the Nazi party, the Social Democratic Party.  Unlike Flexner, I’m not arrogant enough to tell you here and now what the medical education apparatus should look like.  The free market, given a chance, would have shown us that.  The market didn’t stand a chance after Flexner’s report.  

Back to Tulsa.  As you can imagine, the crowd gathered there held Flexner and this heavy-handed approach to designing education systems in the highest esteem.  They are determined to radically change it once again, apparently.  Here are some quotes:

Jack Geiger (professor emeritus of the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education at the City College of New York…..whew!!!…sounds important) said medical education must be an instrument of social change.  Also, “Being politically activist is medically legitimate.”  Wow.  That’s useful.  I’m thinking that this guy is probably not voting for Ron Paul.  This is what happens to education when you take it out of the market and put it into the hands of the state and state-worshipers.  

Fitzhugh Mullan (professor at George Washington University and head of the Beyond Flexner Study) said this:  ”Social purpose is important, and it should be a mission and there should be accountability for it.”  His coercive tendencies are right on the surface aren’t they?  Isn’t he saying that if you don’t do what he wants you should be accountable for it?  This statist also said that medical schools should hold themselves accountable for improving health equity and reducing health disparities.  More incomprehensible rubbish.  Don’t you think it’s ironic that the Flexner report these guys hold in such high esteem resulted in a doctor shortage and an absence of women and minorities in the practice of medicine?  Unless Mullan wants health equity and no health disparities…just doesn’t want minorities or women as physicians.

I can’t help but think that these guys’ careers are characterized by the same degree of intellectual inconsistency as evidenced in this article.  My advice to any medical student?  If someone tells you that you must be a vehicle for social change, put your headset on and hit play.

G. Keith Smith, M.D.