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Loyola University Chicago drops race criteria for ‘diverse’ surgery internship program

Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine
via Luwolf (CC BY-SA 3.0)

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    Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine has reportedly removed racial requirements from an internship program that appeared to exclude white and Asian American applicants.

    According to a federal complaint, the Diversity in Surgery Visiting Sub-Internship Program had sought to “encourage medical students from racial and ethnic groups that are underrepresented in medicine to consider pursuing a career in academic surgery.”

    It initially required applicants to submit a photo and be of the following racial groups: “African American/Black, Hispanic/Latinx, American Indian/Alaska Native, [or] Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander.”

    Virginia-based nonprofit Do No Harm filed the federal complaint in August 2022, citing a violation of Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibits racial discrimination among entities that receive federal funding. 

    The complaint was filed with the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, which then opened an investigation.

    “In violation of Title VI, medical students who are not members of one of the designated racial/ethnic groups above in bold are illegally excluded from the University’s ‘Diversity in Surgery Visiting Sub-Internship Program’ and illegally discriminated against on the basis of their race, color and national origin,” Do No Harm Program Manager Laura L. Morgan wrote in the complaint.

    On Feb. 17, the Education Department dropped its investigation into Morgan’s complaint, according to Campus Reform. This follows the removal of the internship program’s racial requirements, which reportedly took place about a week after the investigation was confirmed on Jan. 19.

    The program’s website now states that it welcomes applications from “outstanding medical students who self-identify as underrepresented in Surgery from a social, economic, or educational perspective.” 

    U.S. and Canadian citizens, U.S. permanent residents and DACA recipients are eligible to apply.

    Successful applicants will serve as sub-interns on a surgical service for four weeks. They will receive mentorship, networking opportunities and up to $2,500 in financial support.

    The exclusion of white and Asian American candidates appears to be an ongoing trend in academic and employment programs. 

    Just last week, Pfizer was also reported to have removed similar racial requirements from its high-stakes Breakthrough Fellowship Program, also following a dismissed discrimination complaint from Do No Harm.

    In September 2022, a class-action suit also accused Amazon of discriminating against white and Asian applicants through its “Diversity Grant,” which awards $10,000 to Black, Latinx and Native American entrepreneurs. The lawsuit claimed white and Asian hopefuls were left to “foot the entire bill for their startup costs.”

    Back in 2018, a former YouTube recruiter accused Google of excluding Asian and white male applicants, and in one hiring round, “purging” all applications by “non-diverse employees.”


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