AALOSs’ position on the recent Supreme Court ruling on Affirmative Action
There are severe inequalities in many industries in our country today. Medicine and particularly orthopedic surgery has a representation of minority physicians that does not represent the demographics of our nation as a whole. Less than 3% of orthopedic surgeons are Hispanic while Hispanics constitute close to 20% of our population. The discrepancy approaches an order of magnitude. Similar inequalities exist for African Americans.
It is recognized that patients appreciate having a physician with whom they have cultural and language concordance. The point in fact is that in America today a minority patient has little opportunity to be treated by a minority physician. This is especially true in specialties such as orthopedic surgery
Medical school and residencies after medical school are very competitive academically. Our school system preparing students for careers in medicine is of varying quality tied to the affluence of our communities. As a result many minority students do not have access to good schools. Discretionary funding for extracurricular activities such as tutoring is lacking. The playing field is not level.
Affirmative action has been instituted in America to address some of these inequalities, with a goal of evening the playing field. Through affirmative action there have been modest gains but striking inequalities still exist.
The American Association of Latino Orthopedic Surgeons decries the Supreme Court Decision that strikes down affirmative action. We have not achieved equality in our society and the action of the Supreme court is premature and thwarts a major effort to correct inequalities.