UPMC Cardiologist No Longer Director Of Fellowship Program After Criticizing Affirmative Action

Aug 7, 2020

A UPMC cardiologist is no longer the program director for one of the medical system’s fellowship programs after he published an article in a prominent journal asserting that affirmative action policies produce less-qualified medical students and residents.

In March, Dr. Norman Wang published the now-retracted article in the journal of the American Heart Association, titled "Long-term academic solutions and excellence should not be sacrificed for short-term demographic optics." In it, he argued that the "current model for racial and ethnic diversity is practically untenable."

The journal is editorially independent from the association, which said that Wang’s views are a misrepresentation of facts and contrary to the organization’s core values.

“We have launched a formal investigation to better understand how a paper that is completely incompatible with the Association’s core values was published,” said the association in a statement published earlier this week.

UPMC has confirmed that Wang is no longer the head of the cardiac electrophysiology fellowship program. The state’s largest medical system did not directly explain if this was due solely to Wang’s article, or if there are other factors that influenced the decision.

“Dr. Wang, whose opinions are incompatible with the values of clinical training programs at UPMC, is no longer the program director of the UPMC cardiac electrophysiology fellowship program,” said Dr. Samir Saba, co-director of UPMC’s Heart and Vascular Institute.

The head of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, which is closely affiliated with UPMC, told WESA that Wang’s views “do not reflect the values” of the university or its medical school.

“As an institution and a community, we do not condone racism or discrimination of any kind, and we remain absolutely committed to realizing a more inclusive and equitable environment for all,” said Dr. Anantha Shekhar, the medical school’s dean and Senior Vice Chancellor for the Health Sciences at Pitt.

Wang did not respond to a request for comment. He is still employed by UPMC.