Watchdog group demands Johns Hopkins end DEI program that creates a ‘toxic culture’

A healthcare watchdog group was not impressed with the “empty” apology issued by Johns Hopkins Medical School (JHM) after the institution’s chief diversity officer, Dr. Sherita Hill Golden, labeled all whites, Christians, men, and more as “privileged.”

In a leaked internal Martin Luther King Jr. Day newsletter that went out to the staff, Golden defined so-called “privilege” as “a set of unearned benefits given to people who are in a specific social group.”

As BizPac Review reported, Theodore L. DeWeese, the Dean of the Medical Faculty, and Kevin W. Sowers, president of Johns Hopkins Health System, issued an apology to “the Johns Hopkins community” and “talking points” were provided to cope with the nation’s outrage.

That’s not good enough, according to Do No Harm, a watchdog group that “represents physicians, nurses, medical students, patients, and policymakers focused on keeping identity politics out of medical education, research, and clinical practice,” according to its website.

“Johns Hopkins needs to completely eliminate their DEI department and channel those resources toward the primary objective of preparing the next generation of healthcare professionals to give the highest quality care to all patients,” Do No Harm’s executive director, Kristina Rasmussen, told the New York Post.

“They have created a toxic culture rooted in a DEI ideology that demonizes and indoctrinates the very students they’re tasked with training to become the next generation of medical professionals,” she stated. “Their weak apology is simply insufficient, and our campaign is focused on raising awareness about the discriminatory ideas being taught to students and the hostile workplace imposed on employees.”

On Thursday, Do No Harm protested JHM’s DEI program with a mobile billboard that cruised around Washington, D.C., The Post reports. Golden’s face was featured on the rolling poster, along with the words, “Racism is still racism when a DEI officer says it.”

The mobile billboard drove around Johns Hopkins’s Baltimore campus and hospital, the group said.

In her newsletter, Golden named “White people; Able-bodied people; Heterosexuals; Cisgender people; Males; Christians; Middle or owning class people; Middle-aged people; [and] English-speaking people” as the social groups who are guilty of “privilege.”

Following intense backlash, JHM attempted to walk back Golden’s blatantly racist definition and the “privilege” list was retracted.

“Regrettably, the January edition of this newsletter, which was distributed to all Johns Hopkins Medicine employees yesterday, included a definition of privilege that runs counter to the values of our institution, and our mission and commitment to serve everyone equally,” DeWeese and Sowers wrote to the JHM community. “Dr Golden heard the feedback from our community, sincerely apologized, and retracted the definition. We fully support and appreciate her decision to do so, and as leaders of Johns Hopkins Medicine, we too repudiate this language.”

“The newsletter included a definition of the word privilege which, upon reflection, I deeply regret,” Golden wrote in her apology statement. “The intent of the newsletter is to inform and support an inclusive community at Hopkins, but the language of this definition clearly did not meet that goal. In fact, because it was overly simplistic and poorly worded, it had the opposite effect. I retract and disavow the definition I shared and I am sorry.”

Do No Harm contends the apology was insincere. Only by dismantling the DEI program, it argues, can the damage be repaired.

“The group pointed to Golden’s second position as the head of DEI for the American Society of Clinical Investigation, which offers a post-BA scholarship program available only to students who are ‘underrepresented in medicine and science,'” according to The Post.

“It’s clear Dr. Golden’s detrimental DEI influence is far-reaching in the medical community and deserves additional scrutiny,” Do No Harm stated.

Melissa Fine


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