California doctors are suing over mandatory implicit bias training, claiming it wrongly asserts that “white individuals are naturally racist”.
Challenging the State’s Mandatory Implicit Bias Training
A group of California doctors, including the anti-discrimination organization Do No Harm, has filed a lawsuit challenging the state’s mandatory implicit bias training for physicians, arguing that the training promotes the notion that “white individuals are naturally racist.”
The lawsuit pertains to AB 241, a legislation passed by California lawmakers in 2019, which mandates that all continuing medical education (CME) courses include implicit bias training.
Given that physicians must complete 50 CME hours annually to maintain their medical licenses, the law effectively compels practitioners to undergo this training or risk losing their professional livelihoods.
Critics assert that this requirement replaces valuable course time with potentially irrelevant or counterproductive content.
The Argumentative Nature of Evidence
The case, known as Azadeh Khatibi, et al. v. Kristina Lawson, et. al, was initiated by the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) on behalf of Dr. Azadeh Khatibi, an ophthalmology specialist and CME instructor who immigrated to the U.S. from Iran at a young age.
Dr. Khatibi’s objection lies in being compelled to integrate discussions of implicit bias into her courses when such topics hold no relevance to her field.
She also believes other subjects could more effectively address disparities in treatment outcomes.
In their legal filing, the PLF underscored the argumentative nature of evidence surrounding the existence of implicit bias.
Inaccurate Belief That White Individuals Are Naturally Racist
They also highlighted that improper implicit bias training can often lead to increased resentment and anger rather than achieving its intended goals.
Joining Dr. Khatibi in the PLF lawsuit is Dr. Marilyn Singleton and Do No Harm. Dr. Singleton, a visiting fellow at Do No Harm, a California anesthesiologist, and a CME instructor.
Dr. Singleton emphasized, “The implicit bias requirement promotes the inaccurate belief that white individuals are naturally racist. This message can be detrimental to medical professionals and their patients as it creates an atmosphere of suspicion and animosity, which goes against the fundamental principle of doing no harm.”
The Medical Board of California refrained from commenting on the matter “due to pending litigation.”
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Source: Western Journal