Medical professionals on Twitter hurled accusations of racism at a high-ranking doctor after he a slide opposing affirmative action and defending the practice of hiring “the best candidate.”
Dr. John Calhoon, the outgoing president of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, presented the PowerPoint at his last presidential address as he left the group. The slide touts “virtuous ideals,” which include the idea that “Affirmative action is not equal opportunity,” that “Defining people by color … only tends to ingrain bias” and that the “Best metric is simply whether someone does good.”
Several doctors took to Twitter to accuse Calhoon of racism. (RELATED: FDA Proposes Yearly COVID-19 Vaccinations)
“Outgoing President, Dr. John Calhoon felt it necessary to set all of us othered folks straight in 2023,” Dr. Michael Sholas wrote on Twitter. “His ‘virtuous ideas’ are the blueprint & thought process for those actively maintaining Whiteness & the Patriarchy in medicine. Problematic White Men in charge.”
“[Y]our white privilige is showing,” Elizabeth Grosse, a registered nurse, wrote on Twitter.
A rhinoplasty surgeon at The London Clinic commented that “this is what ignorance in leadership looks like.”
“Inappropriate behavior has no role in education.”
— Dominique Vervoort (@DVervoort94) January 22, 2023
“So please tell me more about how medicine has changed when a president of a whole surgical society chose this as his hill to die on… let me go find some bootstraps to pick up,” a Dr. Imani E. McElroy tweeted.
The Society for Thoracic Surgeons has since condemned Calhoon’s slide in a statement, describing his talking points as “inconsistent with STS’s core values of diversity, equity, and inclusion.”
“The STS apologizes for these remarks. We know these comments were hurtful and we regret the pain they have caused to so many valued colleagues,” the society said in a statement.