Saturday 25 May 2024

Up To Half Of UCLA Med Students Are Failing Basic Medical Competency Tests, Affirmative Action To Blame

 Students at one of the top medical schools in the country are failing basic medical competency tests – and whistleblowers at the school are blaming affirmative action policies.

Some faculty members shared emails and other information with The Washington Free Beacon, which revealed that the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) was admitting students based on race over merit, a practice that has been illegal in California since 1996. The outlet based its report on “written correspondence between UCLA officials, internal data on student performance, and interviews with eight professors at the medical school—six of whom have worked with or under Lucero on medical student and residency admissions.”

The result of the alleged race-based admissions policies has led to a marked increase in the number of students failing basic standardized tests.

“I have students on their rotation who don’t know anything,” a member of the admissions committee told the Free Beacon. “People get in and they struggle.”

Those who spoke to the Free Beacon placed the blame largely on Jennifer Lucero, who took over as the dean of admissions in 2020. In one example of the school allowing someone in based on race and not merit, Lucero reportedly became angry with another admissions officer who questioned whether the school should let in a black applicant whose grades and test scores were far below the school’s average.

“Did you not know African-American women are dying at a higher rate than everybody else?” Lucero reportedly asked, adding that “we need people like this in the medical school.”

The outburst concerned other admissions officials, prompting one to reach out to other committee members and to wonder “if this applicant had been [a] white male, or [an] Asian female for that matter, [whether] we would have had that much discussion.”

The same question had been raised since Lucero began her role as head of the medical school’s admissions in 2020. Since then, the school has dropped from 6th to 18th place in the U.S. News & World Report’s rankings for medical research, and as many as 50% of students are failing basic standardized tests on emergency medicine, family medicine, internal medicine, and pediatrics. Large percentages are also failing basic tests in neurology, obstetrics/gynecology, and surgery as well.


Nationally, an average of 5% of students fail each test.

Professors told the Free Beacon that students simply aren’t prepared for the school. One told the outlet that a student in an operating room couldn’t identify a major artery when asked, and then berated the professor for asking her in front of everyone. Another professor said students finishing up their clinical rotations didn’t know basic lab tests.

“I don’t know how some of these students are going to be junior doctors,” the professor told the Free Beacon. “Faculty are seeing a shocking decline in knowledge of medical students.”

One admissions officer told the outlet that double standards in admissions are largely to blame.

“All the normal criteria for getting into medical school only apply to people of certain races,” an admissions officer said. “For other people, those criteria are completely disregarded.”

Four people who served on the admissions committee told the Free Beacon that the committee regularly admits black and Latino applicants with below-average GPAs and test scores, while white and Asian applicants must be near perfect to be considered.

Six people who’ve worked with Lucero told the outlet that she retaliates against those who question the qualifications of minority candidates, calling them “privileged” and throwing out accusations of racism. She’s even forced dissenters to take diversity training sessions for the alleged transgressions.

Lucero, who is also the vice chair for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) for UCLA’s anesthesiology department, has refused to use blind admissions, saying that even though California bans the use of racial preference in admissions, “we are not required to blind any information.” She’s also directly advocated for moving candidates up or down the residency rank based on their race, the Free Beacon reported.

Adam Mortara, who was the lead trial lawyer for the plaintiffs in Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard, the landmark Supreme Court case that banned affirmative action, told the outlet that Lucero’s statements in emails could cause a legal issue for UCLA. Asking for information about a candidate’s race without any lawful cause is “presumptively illegal,” he said.

“You can’t have evidence of overt discrimination like this and not have someone come forward” to sue, he added.

Several complaints have been filed against Lucero to UCLA’s Discrimination Prevention Office, but no action has been taken.

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