JAMA Editor Placed on Leave Following Racial Controversy

“It’s not just that this podcast is problematic — it’s that there is a long and documented history of institutional racism at JAMA,” said Dr. Brittani James, a Black physician who practices on the South Side of Chicago and who helped begin the petition.

“That podcast should never have happened,” said Dr. Uché Blackstock, an emergency physician in New York. “That tweet should never have happened. The fact that podcast was conceived of, recorded and posted was unconscionable.”

“I think it caused an incalculable amount of pain and trauma to Black physicians and patients,” she said. “And I think it’s going to take a long time for the journal to heal that pain.”

Recently, other prominent journals have had to reckon with their roles in perpetuating racism in medicine. In January, Alan Weil, editor in chief of Health Affairs, acknowledged that the journal’s “staff and leadership are overwhelmingly white and economically privileged,” and he committed to reviewing its editorial process.

The A.M.A.’s email to employees promised that the investigation would probe “how the podcast and associated tweet were developed, reviewed, and ultimately published,” and said that the association had engaged independent investigators to ensure objectivity.

The email did not offer a date for conclusion of the investigation.

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