Press Release: Responding to SCOTUS Opinion on Race Conscious Admissions
June 29, 2023 (Washington, DC) – On June 29, 2023, the United States Supreme Court issued their opinion further limiting the consideration of race as a factor in higher education admissions. The Social Mission Alliance is greatly disappointed with this decision, which is likely to hinder the development of a health workforce reflective of the American population it serves.
If the higher education and health professions education communities do not respond quickly, the Court’s decision will severely set back recent strides made to increase health workforce diversity. The diversity of our health workforce is essential; there is strong evidence that a diverse health workforce contributes to better health outcomes and is effective at addressing health disparities. A diverse student body in health professions education improves the skills and competencies of all students, regardless of race.
The Social Mission Alliance will continue to support and promote diversity among health professions students, educators, and professionals. While the court decision severely limits the use of one tool, there are other tools we can and should use.
This is not the first-time the use of affirmative action has been limited, with nine states having previously implemented bans on race-conscious admissions. Now is the time for us to turn to the experiences in these states, such as California, for alternative strategies related to admissions that have been shown to produce a diverse student body. Other strategies, in addition to admissions policies, such as the development of pathway programs, mentorships, linkages with community colleges, scholarships, and building a supportive environment on campus need to be part of a comprehensive strategy to increase diversity in the future. Rather than letting this decision set us back, we must double our efforts to create a more diverse workforce.
We will be exploring the most effective steps the Social Mission Alliance and our community can take in the coming months and years to assure a more diverse health workforce. We welcome your ideas and partnership for action.
The Social Mission Alliance remains committed to developing a diverse health workforce prepared to equitably treat all members of society, and the decision by the Supreme Court will not stop us from pursuing this mission.