I recently attended a residency graduation party at an academic medical center, for the first time since the pandemic. Two things struck me:
- So. Many. Awards. For the residents. For the faculty. For the ancillary staff. There were nearly as many awards as there were graduating residents.
- No roasting of the graduating house staff, or even a hint of humor of any kind. This used to be the highlight of any graduation party.
Award inflation is akin to grade inflation: they have become currency for further post-graduate training and, more importantly, faculty promotion. With the recent focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion, a whole new spectrum of accolades has opened up. So yes, there is a reason for all those plaques being thrown left and right, but it was funny nevertheless to see faculty speed through the list of graduates, then spend the next hour patting themselves on the back.
The lack of a proper roast was more concerning. Has the environment become so fraught that the residents are concerned about offending anyone? Humor is to dialogue what beavers are to a river: sometimes a nuisance, but also the hallmark of a healthy ecosystem. Or should I say good humor; when done lazily and as an afterthought, roasts too often devolved into a series of racial and sexual stereotypes. I imagine that is why some places have done away with them, which is also a lazy, unimaginative thing to do — you would think that with all the stress on DEI, the graduates would if anything be more capable of doing a character/personality rather than race/orientation-based roast.
What I hope DEI workshops did not teach them is that they should go out of their way to avoid making people uncomfortable. Sometimes people should be uncomfortable, and making them squirm just a little bit at the highest peak of their career-to-date is the best time for it. They will have the entire rest of the night to pat themselves on the back.