MD & DO For those who want to protest but are afraid of professional/career consequences.

ersa2018

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So basically this is a common sentiment that I’ve heard among medical students (and other professionals), particularly right now as BLM protests are happening all over the country. Its pretty ironic that as future doctors we have “power” and are supposed to be “leaders” but fear what could happen to us if we get arrested in a protest against racism.

That is why some classmates and I have written this open letter to AAMC, ACGME, and AACOM Regarding ERAS and AMCAS (the medical school application system, and residency application system).

Open Letter to AAMC, ACGME, and AACOM Regarding ERAS and AMCAS Inquiry of Applicant’s Criminal History

Please read it and consider sharing if you share this frustration. We are trying to keep the momentum for this going right now—it can be signed by anybody, not just doctors/med students/premeds.

Note: the most commonly stated reason that people and organizations have hesitated to distribute is fear of professional consequences. This is the same root of the issue we hope to combat!
Nonetheless, we have amassed over 1,500 signatures from current doctors and medical students in the US and 6 other countries + the Caribbean, we have folks from over 100 medical schools that have signed, we have national endorsement from the Medical Student Pride Alliance, Latino Medical Students Association, Gay and Lesbian Medical Association, and Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association, and we foresee more endorsements forthcoming.

Please Join Us.
 
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bananafish94

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I think the spirit behind this is great but unfortunately I don't know how much of a substantive effect these requests would make. The AAMC can "guarantee immunity" in a letter to all students who are disadvantaged due to a criminal history but nobody would ever be able to prove that's why the student was rejected. Programs could just feed everybody a line about increasing competition, etc.

In many ways I feel like the better move might be advocating for the elimination or revision of the misdemeanor/felony question on ERAS. This is obviously a very complicated issue that I'm grossly oversimplifying because residencies should be able to choose residents that aren't going to run into trouble with getting a license before starting, every state has a different licensing process, and so on and so forth. Maybe they don't get to see a criminal history until after interviews are completed or something like that? I'm just spit-balling. I do find it a little bit ridiculous that in this country any kind of interaction with the criminal justice system follows you forever and many people can never truly "repay their debt to society" if it's going to affect them on every job application until the day they die. Many states have legislation on this issue and maybe AMCAS and ERAS should follow suit.
 
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ersa2018

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Thank you for reading and responding so thoughtfully!

There are definitely major systemic problems with criminal history disclosure that unfortunately cannot be addressed with this letter. However, I still don't want to dismiss the impact the AAMC has when making a statement. At the very least, it's another powerful organization saying, maybe indirectly, that this country arrests way too many people (of color) for no damn reason.

This is definitely a movement that needs support from the ground up with learners at each medical institution speaking up and demanding change.
 
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