Train doctors to fight pandemics, not social injustice

As I warned back in March, America’s response to the coronavirus pandemic was flawed from the beginning. And some of the blame for this flawed strategy should fall squarely on the country’s politically correct medical schools. 

Let me explain 

Medicine should aim to end suffering and extend life 

During the Scottish Enlightenment in the 18th century, physicians at the University of Edinburgh first declared that “rational medicine” should aim to stop suffering and extend life. (The Scottish Enlightenment included Adam Smith in economics and moral philosophy, David Hume in law and moral philosophy, and James Watt in engineering.)  

Accordingly, if a medical treatment did not demonstrably accomplish such ends, it was not considered to be justified scientifically 

Then, in 1765, John Morgan from Edinburgh brought these rational ideas about medicine to the American colonies. He petitioned the colonial governor Thomas Penn to charter the first medical school at the College of Philadelphia (now the University of Pennsylvania, my alma mater) based on these principles.  

In America, we continued on this rational, scientific, non-partisan path in medical schools all the way through the 20th century…even as political correctness began to completely overtake almost all the affiliated undergraduate universities 

Then, suddenly, during the 21st century, this political correctness crept into our medical schools, too 

Misguided priorities at American medical schools 

About 20 years ago, the medical school athe University of Pennsylvania started to become a platform for political hacks, like Ezekiel Emmanuel. (Ezekiel is the brother of Obama’s former chief of staff, Rahm Emmanuel, who subsequently became mayor of the Chicago cesspool.)  

In 2011, Ezekiel Emmanuel became the head of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at Penn, but he also dabbled as a primary flak for Obamas Affordable Care Act (ACA)even attempting to defend it on the Sunday morning television talk shows.  

Then, in 2013, Congress wanted to hold hearings about the problems with the ACA with Kathleen Sibelius, then Secretary of Health and Human Services. But she declined to appear. Instead, she hid out and gave a last-minute “keynote” speech at a trumped up, politically correct conference on the importance of “urban health” at the Penn Nursing School. (Of course, the ACA devastated rural healthcare, not urban.)   

As a donor to Penn at the time, I registered my concerns to the brilliantnew Dean. To his credit, the Dean came to have lunch with me in Florida and expressed awareness about some faculty who used the prestige of Penn for their own political aspirations. These opportunists (such as with Emmanuel and Sibelius) were just passing through and taking advantage of Penn’s “academic freedom.” But, as an actual alum, I would always be part of Penn 

Doctors should learn to fight pandemics, not social injustice 

I attended Penn Medical School during the mid-to-late 1970s and worked under Dr. Stanley Goldfarbwho was thenchief medical resident at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Twenty years later, I worked with Dr. Goldfarb again when I was executive director of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. And always found him to be someone who thought outside the box. And, clearly, he still does… 

In fact, this past April 2020, in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, Dr. Goldfarb wrote in the Wall Street Journal about an important topic that wasn’t being covered anywhere else… 

He said too many of today’s practicing doctors weren’t adequately trained in medical school to deal with infectious diseases and pandemics. (Yet another “missing link” in medical school—in addition to nutrition, the one I discussed in the February 2020 issue of my monthly Insiders’ Cures newsletter.)  

In fact, most medical schools don’t require any coursework whatsoever on pandemic response. Nor do they teach practical preparation for widespread and sustained emergencies in national and global health.    

I myself experienced this gaping hole in training during my own time at Penn… 

In fact, in order to get some coursework in international health and infectious diseases (before I went to do fieldwork in Southeast Asia in 1976 – 77), I petitioned the Penn veterinary school to create a course for Penn medical studentssince the med school didnhave the curriculum or faculty to do so itself 

To their credit, the Deans approved the course and facilitated registration with the veterinary school. Unfortunately. thoughas Dr. Goldfarb pointed out, the situation facing students at medical schools today is far worse… 

New focus on “social issues in medicine 

Not only do medical students NOT receive training on infectious disease pandemics, two of the nine mandated curriculum requirements they all MUST take cover “social issues in medicine.”  

This required coursework focuses on topics such as“the diagnosis of common societal problems and the impacts of disparities in health care on medically underserved populations…in a multi-dimensional and diverse society.”  

If there were ever an example of “mission creep,” with actual deadly consequences for our society, this is it. And, as Dr. Goldfarb wrote, the medical profession should abandon the fantasy that physicians can be trained to fix problems of food insecurity, poverty and racism. They have no clinical tools to address these issues.”  

Instead, he stated, “Doctors should learn to fight pandemics, not injustice.” 

And I quite agree…on both counts. 

To me, this kind of misguided political mindset in modern medicine has also contributed to a larger problem in our society 

For the first time in recorded history, there has been a decline in longevity among white, middle-aged, middle-class people. It’s gotten so bad, the plight of the white, middle class is dragging down longevity for the total U.S. population! Even despite continued improvements in mortality rates among other population groups. 

Practice some sensible, science-backed approaches for prevention 

Well, as I first learned back at Penn, the only way to get a true handle on this latest infectious disease is for all of us to practice good hygiene. (Indeed, that’s what I always recommend for battling any kind of virus.) 

In fact, this past weekend, I personally went to stock up on supplies at several different locations for the first time in months. And I realized that what I was practicing are all the simple, sensible hygiene steps that I always practiced anyway, before the coronavirus panic. 

In addition to practicing good hygiene, you can take some practical steps right now to support your overall immunity—including supplementing daily with 10,000 IU of vitamin D. You can learn more about my top immune health recommendations in my Pandemic Protection Playbook: How to become “immune ready” in every season. To gain access this essential guide, click here now! 

In the end, just make sure you follow the science, not the political correct ministrations from the public health officials. And seek medical care when you need it—especially if you have any serious chronic conditions, like heart disease. 


“Med School Needs an Overhaul.” Wall Street Journal, 4/13/20.