The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has received fawning praise and blistering criticism from the respective sides of the ideological spectrum.
Yet, when critiquing the NIH, the conservative media has been shockingly absent on the NIH’s involvement with Critical Race Theory (CRT)—considered the premier target of the day for conservatives.
That’s right. As surprising as it sounds, CRT and NIH have been intertwined for over a decade.
A simple search on Google for “NIH Critical Race Theory” yields as the very first return a 2010 publication entitled “Critical Race Theory, Race Equity, and Public Health: Toward Antiracism Praxis” by Dr. Chandra Ford (Ph.D.) and Dr. Collins Airhihenbuwa (Ph.D.). The article was published in the American Journal of Public Health and is also featured on the NIH’s website under the U.S. National Library of Medicine page.
Another article from May 2021 on the NIH’s website is plainly titled “Critical Race Theory in Medicine” by Dr. Rahel Zewude (M.D.) and Dr. Malika Sharma (M.D.) (ME.d). It was originally published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ).
The conclusion of Dr. Zewude and Dr. Sharma in their paper is: “The medical profession faces increasing calls to address racism and promote equity, diversity and inclusion.”
“Critical race theory, recently brought to the forefront of public discussion, represents a powerful tool for change. This is indeed a ‘radical revolution’ whose time has come.”
NIH apologists would almost certainly argue that the articles are not endorsed by the NIH, and they are on the website for educational purposes only. However, one could easily refute that argument by pointing to the $58 million grants over the next five years approved by the NIH on Oct. 13, 2021, under its Transformative Research to Address Health Disparities and Advance Health Equity initiative.
These funds are going toward “funding bold, new research ideas that focus on interventions to address health disparities and advance health equity.”
Further, the NIH has made it a bigger initiative to “ending structural racism” under its program called the UNITE initiative. Founded in March of 2021, the UNITE acronym, according to their website, stands for:
“U — Understanding stakeholder experiences through listening and learning.
N — New research on health disparities, minority health, and health equity.
I — Improving the NIH culture and structure for equity, inclusion, and excellence.
T — Transparency, communication, and accountability with our internal and external
E — Extramural research ecosystem: changing policy, culture, and structure to promote workforce diversity.”
Specifically, each one of the letters comprising the acronym have their own committees and their own goals to bring about the end of “structural racism” and achieve “diversity within the scientific workforce and racial equity on the NIH campus and within the extramural community.”
The goals for U are: “To perform a broad, systematic self-evaluation to delineate elements that perpetuate structural racism and lead to a lack of diversity, equity, and inclusion within the NIH and the external scientific community.”
The goals for N are: “To address long-standing health disparities and issues related to minority health inequities in the United States by ensuring NIH-wide transparency, accountability, and sustainability in marshaling resources for health disparity, minority health, and health equity research.”
The goal for I is “To change the NIH organizational culture and structure to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout the NIH workforce.”
The goals for T are bifurcated, “To ensure transparency, accountability, and sustainability of all UNITE efforts amongst internal and external stakeholders. Coordinate NIH-wide efforts and communicate findings from other UNITE committees to internal and external stakeholders, and the public.”
Finally, the goal for E is “to perform a broad systematic evaluation of NIH extramural policies and processes to identify and change practices and structures that perpetuate a lack of inclusivity and diversity within the extramural research ecosystem.”
All told, this information from the NIH’s own records is proof positive that the battle for CRT will not end with the election of Virginia’s Gov-elect Glenn Youngkin.
While CRT in the classroom is but one front of the culture war on American values and the vision of the Framers, the ideology grows stronger in government institutions like the NIH, and perhaps elsewhere.