- The Washington Times - Friday, April 9, 2021

An editor at the Journal of the American Medical Association is out of a job after criticizing the concept of structural racism in the health care field during a February podcast.

Dr. James L. Madara, CEO and executive vice president of the American Medical Association, announced in a statement that the journal had accepted the resignation of Deputy Editor for Clinical Reviews and Education Dr. Edward H. Livingston, accusing him of hosting a “harmful” podcast that “both minimized the effects of systemic racism in health care and questioned its profound impact on millions of people across our country.”

The AMA’s CEO declared that “structural racism exists in the U.S. and in medicine” and that it’s “not opinion or conjecture” but a fact proven “through the science and in the evidence.”

He said he was “deeply disturbed” and “angered” by Dr. Livingston’s podcast and an accompanying tweet that asked, “No physician is racist, so how can there be structural racism in health care?”

The resignation happened March 10 but gained renewed attention Thursday by conservative website Campus Reform.

During the Feb. 24 podcast, Dr. Livingston took issue with the term “structural racism” but acknowledged that “disproportionality does exist.”

“…[I]t’s more of a socioeconomic phenomenon,” he said, according to a transcript provided by The Daily Wire. “It isn’t their race; it isn’t their color; it’s their socioeconomic status. It’s where they are.”

About a week and a wave of backlash later, JAMA Editor-in-Chief Dr. Howard Bauchner issued a statement saying the podcast and tweet had been deleted, calling Dr. Livingston’s comments “inaccurate, offensive, hurtful, and inconsistent with the standards of JAMA.”

[You can listen to Dr. Livingston’s now-deleted podcast here. It’s also available here, via Archive.org’s Wayback Machine archive.]

“Racism and structural racism exist in the U.S. and in health care,” Dr. Bauchner wrote, in part. “We are instituting changes that will address and prevent such failures from happening again.”

Dr. Bauchner was placed on administrative leave on March 25 pending an investigation into how the podcast made it to air, WebMD Health News reported.

The journal said it enact a number of reforms in response to the controversy, including filling a new associate editor role who has “specific expertise in the topics of racism and structural racism in health care.”

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