As 2022 closes, two cases aimed at preventing medical schools from using race as part of a holistic admission process sit before the Supreme Court. Six conservative judges will likely decide the outcome, but everyone that loves life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness should care that, “the medical care of the negro race will never be left wholly to negro physicians.”

No, that quote is not (yet) an opinion handed down from six conservative judges. It’s actually the opening sentence of the chapter entitled “The Medical Education of the Negro” from a 1910 landmark publication, “Medical Education in the United States and Canada.” 

To be sure, every piece of hundred-year-old racist rhetoric can’t be directly connected to today’s challenges. But this isn’t just any text. 

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, the John D. Rockefeller foundation, the American Medical Association, and Johns Hopkins University came together at the turn of the last century to focus on elevating the poor state of healthcare in America. 

Their first step was to send a former teacher and author named Abraham Flexner to visit all 155 medical schools in the U.S. and Canada and propose how to improve them. Fueled by huge financial commitments from the Carnegie and Rockefeller foundations, the Flexner report’s recommendations were enshrined in law across all 50 states and became the foundational blueprint of the modern American medical system

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