The implementation of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) at medical schools is currently in danger.

In March 2024, Congressman Greg Murphy (R-NC) introduced the Embracing anti-Discrimination, Unbiased Curricula, and Advancing Truth in Education (EDUCATE) Act. The proposed bill aims to prohibit race-based mandates at medical schools and accrediting institutions, per a news release. In addition, it would stop federal funding to medical schools that “discriminate” against races and ethnicities, have DEI offices, and “force” students and school faculty to assimilate to particular beliefs.

“American medical schools are the best in the world and no place for discrimination,” Murphy shared in a statement. “The EDUCATE Act compels medical schools and accrediting agencies to uphold colorblind admissions processes and prohibits the coercion of students who hold certain political opinions. Diversity strengthens medicine, but not if it’s achieved through exclusionary practices. Medicine is about serving others and doing the best job possible in every circumstance. We cannot afford to sacrifice the excellence and quality of medical education at the hands of prejudice and divisive ideology.”

CNN reports that some doctors believe that if the bill is passed, not only could it affect curriculum that tackles racial health inequities but also take a toll on improving Black maternal health overall.

“The racial health disparities we are seeing today are unacceptable,” Dr. Versha Pleasant, a clinical assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Michigan Medical School, told the outlet. “There is an urgent need for positive change in our medical system and we are not going to see that positive change unless we make the conscious effort to educate our medical students who represent the future.”

A 2021 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that Black women are dying from pregnancy complications at a rate over two times higher than that of white women. A staggering statistic such as this is the reason why medical schools are working to enact change for the Black maternal health crisis.

In response to Murphy’s claim that DEI efforts spur discrimination, doctors and professors shared with CNN that their DEI programs “are not exclusionary” and work to address racial discrimination and bias in the medical field, which has improved outcomes for Black mothers and babies.

Along with negatively affecting the progress made to fight the Black maternal health crisis, Dr. Pleasant thinks that putting an end to DEI at medical schools could make it more challenging for DEI offices at the schools to onboard diverse students and that “our future health care workforce will not have adequate tools to combat racism and bias in medicine.”

According to CNN, the EDUCATE Act was referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce in March and hasn’t been voted on, as of this writing.