JABSOM Statement on SCOTUS Race-Conscious Admissions Ruling

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 The University of Hawaiʻi John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) is fully committed to strengthening the diversity of our student body, physician, health sciences workforce, learning environment, and workplace. We embrace diversity and inclusion as part of our shared values which are responsive to our unique location and our responsibility to the peoples of Hawaiʻi and the Pacific. We uphold that an environment of inclusiveness, equal opportunity, and respect for similarities and differences in our communities advances our missions of education and teaching, research and innovation, clinical healing, and community engagement. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision related to affirmative action in higher education will not deter us from our vision, mission, and values.

Diversity sparks creativity and enhances problem-solving that incorporates understanding and addressing many sociocultural and historical determinants of health, healthcare, and health inequities. The Association of American Medical Colleges and its strategic initiatives, and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education promote educational training environments for students, residents, and fellows that oppose systemic racism, and supports a diverse physician workforce that treats all patients with dignity and respect and seeks equitable healthcare outcomes for all. The Liaison Committee on Medical Education accreditation standards require us to have effective policies and practices in place, and engage in ongoing, systematic, and focused recruitment and retention activities, to achieve mission-appropriate diversity outcomes among our students, faculty, senior administrative staff, and other relevant members of our academic community.

JABSOM’s MD program is among the nation’s leaders in preparing graduates to care for patients of different backgrounds. Many of our alumni provide care to underserved and rural populations throughout Hawaiʻi and serve as advocates and leaders in their communities, health systems, and federally-qualified health centers. We firmly believe that a diverse health care provider and science workforce results in improved care, improved access, increased trust, better partnerships, and better science to achieve our vision of Attaining Lasting Optimal Health for All.

JABSOM has long considered multiple factors and individual applicants’ lived experiences in our medical student admissions process. Similar to the larger University of Hawaiʻi system, we are now analyzing the Supreme Court ruling and will determine what changes, if any, will be required to adhere to the ruling, while maintaining our commitments to diversity and equity to meet the educational and workforce needs of Hawaiʻi.