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A Republican congressman from North Carolina wants to prohibit federal funding, including student loans, for medical schools with diversity, equity and inclusion-related policies and requirements.

“Diversity strengthens medicine, but not if it’s achieved through exclusionary practices,” Representative Greg Murphy, who is also a practicing urologist, said in a press release introducing the bill Tuesday. “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."

The proposal, called the Embracing anti-Discrimination, Unbiased Curricula, and Advancing Truth in Education Act, or the EDUCATE Act, already has dozens of co-sponsors.

It comes amid a flurry of other proposed and passed state-level legislation banning DEI programs at colleges and universities, and about nine months after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled race-based admission policies unconstitutional.

At the same time, some medical schools, including the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine, have eliminated or significantly reduced tuition in recent years in an effort to diversify their student bodies.

The bill seeks to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to prohibit medical schools from directing, compelling or incentivizing students, faculty or staff to affirm certain sentiments about diversity. Forbidden language includes any reference to structural racism or categorization of racial or ethnic groups as inherent “oppressors” or “oppressed.”

The bill also proposes to ban medical schools from requiring prospective students or employees to complete a diversity statement, maintaining DEI offices and offering courses for students “solely on the basis of race, color, or ethnicity.” The bill would also prevent accrediting agencies from including DEI-related factors in evaluating the quality of medical schools.

According to 2021 data from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), 63.9 percent of practicing physicians were white and 20.6 percent were Asian, only 5.7 percent were Black or African American and 6.9 percent were Hispanic.

The AAMC opposes the bill, telling Charlotte-based Spectrum News 1 that DEI efforts are “intended to train the next generation of physicians to respond most appropriately to the rapidly diversifying populations that they will serve.”