Following controversial feedback on racism in drugs made by a deputy editor at JAMA, the editor in chief of the outstanding medical journal was positioned on administrative go away on Thursday.
A committee of the American Medical Association, which oversees the journal, mentioned Dr. Howard Bauchner would get replaced by an interim editor pending outcomes of an unbiased investigation. The determination was introduced on Thursday in an e mail to workers.
JAMA is among the world’s main medical journals, publishing analysis that shapes the scientific agenda and public coverage across the globe. The controversy started when Dr. Ed Livingston, a deputy editor, mentioned on a Feb. 24 podcast that structural racism now not existed within the United States.
“Structural racism is an unfortunate term,” mentioned Dr. Livingston, who’s white. “Personally, I think taking racism out of the conversation will help. Many people like myself are offended by the implication that we are somehow racist.”
The podcast was promoted with a tweet from the journal that mentioned, “No physician is racist, so how can there be structural racism in health care?” The response to each was swift and offended, prompting the journal to take down the podcast and delete the tweet.
Every week later, Dr. Bauchner addressed the controversy. “Comments made in the podcast were inaccurate, offensive, hurtful, and inconsistent with the standards of JAMA,” Dr. Bauchner mentioned in a statement. “We are instituting changes that will address and prevent such failures from happening again.”
Dr. Livingston later resigned. On Thursday night time, officers at JAMA didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.
Many within the medical group mentioned that the journal had not gone far sufficient and that the occasions provided an opportunity to make extra systemic modifications. In an e mail despatched to leaders of the A.M.A., a gaggle of docs known as for “a careful investigation of the JAMA editorial staff and board, up to and including the removal of Dr. Howard Bauchner.”
The authors additionally initiated a petition, now signed by practically 7,000 individuals, asking the journal to carry Dr. Bauchner accountable and to evaluate and restructure the editorial course of.
“It’s not just that this podcast is problematic — it’s that there is a long and documented history of institutional racism at JAMA,” mentioned Dr. Brittani James, a Black doctor who practices on the South Side of Chicago and who helped start the petition.
“That podcast should never have happened,” mentioned Dr. Uché Blackstock, an emergency doctor in New York. “That tweet should never have happened. The fact that podcast was conceived of, recorded and posted was unconscionable.”
“I think it caused an incalculable amount of pain and trauma to Black physicians and patients,” she mentioned. “And I think it’s going to take a long time for the journal to heal that pain.”
Recently, different outstanding journals have needed to reckon with their roles in perpetuating racism in drugs. In January, Alan Weil, editor in chief of Health Affairs, acknowledged that the journal’s “staff and leadership are overwhelmingly white and economically privileged,” and he dedicated to reviewing its editorial course of.
The A.M.A.’s e mail to workers promised that the investigation would probe “how the podcast and associated tweet were developed, reviewed, and ultimately published,” and mentioned that the affiliation had engaged unbiased investigators to make sure objectivity.
The e mail didn’t provide a date for conclusion of the investigation.