There are no words

From the Ohio State Secondary:

  • In reply to:
Articulate your understanding of social justice. How have you advocated or how would you advocate for social justice. (600 words or less)

Describe one or more experiences where you collaborated or worked as part of a team with people of different racial, ethnic and/or socioeconomic backgrounds and/or belief systems than your own. What impact did this experience(s) have on you? (600 words or less)

It's been a few hours since I first pulled it up, so I've calmed down a bit, but the fact that they have the gall to ask stuff like this infuriates me. As I see it, the first one is telling me I should be pro affirmative action, and the second one is effectively implying that I'm a racist.

Actually, Prodigal, These are not much different than questions that get asked at the community Health Center where I work during a typical job interview. As it is a community health center, and the pay is low, they want to know you have a sense of altruism towards the population we serve so that you do not come and leave in 6 months. We also have an incredibly diverse population here at the health center…it is not about racism, but cultural competency…two different concepts. If you have no experience in providing care to a diverse population, we need to know…we would then have to train accordingly due to your level of cultural competency. Cultural compentency can “make you” or “break you” in the setting I work in. Either the patients will keep coming back to you, or be highly uncomfortable and never come back and get care elsewhere. We never make assumptions that someone either is or isn’t. I think the questions do not make assumptions either…they are just “probes” to see what your level of expertise is in this area. Don’t take it personal…as I said…it is fairly standard in a lot of health care settings.

You better get used to those type of questions. Most of academia is full of Ivory Tower folks who do way too much thinking about social issues that most of us in the outside world don’t dwell on. I volunteered for over a year at a free clinic that catered to the hispanic population. During that time I never really thought about “social justice”, I just came to help people who were in a tough situation. My goal as a physician is to help people even if they happen to be white milloinaires.

I think it’s interesting it frustrates you so, and that you take it so personally. It is not really about social justice or diversity. I believe it is a question meant to eliminate individuals who are not intelligent enough to hide racist leanings, or political opinion. But it’s also just to determine if you have common sense.

Just like the other, seemingly random requests from schools like submitting a photo. It seems offensive - thus weeding out the easily offended. It also gets rid of those who lack common sense (see related post in which someone revealed that individuals submitted photos of themselves with pets, in gym clothes, etc).

So, can you write something that doesn’t let a shred of your annoyance show? If yes, congratulations, you passed yet another med school application test of personality.

PS: I’m not trying to sound snarky, but no matter how many times I edit this it sounds that way. Nothing but positivity here! But seriously, they’re just messing with you.

  • PixieSanders Said:

So, can you write something that doesn't let a shred of your annoyance show? If yes, congratulations, you passed yet another med school application test of personality.

Exactly what she said. Before I went back to school I was in several hiring processes with police and fire departments and already working as a paramedic. These Freudian questions are everywhere in public service. I see your signature says IT pro. I'm by no means speaking for your experiences but maybe you're just not used to it. I can relate that there are some ridiculous questions out there and I have dealt with a whole bunch, past and present. You have to do what Pixie said, treat it like a test. Answer honestly. Mean what you say. But remember, it's usually not about what you are saying and more so how you handle weird, difficult, and controversial topics. They don't care if you are conservative or liberal. They care if you are crazy and not fit for dealing with very personal issues of a very diverse population (the school's affilations). Unless you are extremely well-read on social justice, just pick a safe topic (ie children). They want you to feel accused and peeved. Just like your organic teacher wants you to draw the arrow to the wrong functional group. Treat it the same way.

I know it’s asking for your understanding of social justice, but let’s just say mine is that all people should be treated the same. And that’s a pretty good quality to have in a doctor. Everyone deserves your best effort, regardless of whether they’re a millionaire who’s donating to the hospital or a criminal. Like others have said, no need to inject politics into that.

Don’t fall for the okey doke!!! Slip the jab…float like a butterfly…and stay light on your feet. Don’t get caught flat footed. Your 1-2 combination will come with the MD or DO and then it’ll be a knockout…till then slip & move…slip & move…slip & move…