Prestigious Medical Journal Editor Resigns After Making Offensive Remarks

The Journal of the American Medical Association has announced that its editor-in-chief, Dr. Howard Bauchner, will step down after its deputy editor, Ed Livingston, seemingly denied the existence of structural racism in healthcare.

The incident in question revolves around an interview Livingston took part in February. During the interview, the former deputy editor took offensive to the indication that structural racism exists in American society today.

“‘Structural racism’ is an unfortunate term,” Livingston said.

“Personally, I think taking racism out of the conversation will help. Many people like myself are offended by the implication that we are somehow racist.”

After the interview was completed, JAMA issued a tweet that seemed to agree with Livingston's remarks.

“No physician is racist, so how can there be structural racism in health care?” the tweet read.

After reading the JAMA tweet and hearing Livingston's remarks, a number of physicians expressed frustration and outrage. As a result, Livingston opted to resign from his position at JAMA in March 2021. Two months later, Bauchner has followed suit. Prior to stepping down, Bauchner expressed that he's “profoundly disappointed in [himself] for the lapses."

“Although I did not write or even see the tweet, or create the podcast, as editor in chief, I am ultimately responsible for them,” Bauchner said.

“I share and have always supported the AMA’s commitment to dismantling structural racism in the institutions of American medicine, as evident by numerous publications in JAMA on this issue and related subjects, and look forward to personally contributing to that work going forward."

Moving forward, American Medical Association Executive Director Dr. James Madara has said that the organization is put together aimed at “dismantling of structural racism” in healthcare.

“To be clear, structural racism exists in the U.S. and in medicine, genuinely affecting the health of all people, especially people of color and others historically marginalized in society,” Madara said.

“This is not opinion or conjecture, it is proven in numerous studies, through the science and in the evidence.”

Bauchner will officially step down on June 30. JAMA Executive Editor Phil Fontanarosa will step in as the interim editor-in-chief.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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