Maryland Nurse Gets Fired at Meritus Medical Center for Challenging DEI on His Personal Facebook Page

Brad McDowell

“It’s fine to oppose diversity, equity and inclusion as long as you keep it to yourself,” registered nurse Brad McDowell writes in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal. “The moment you speak out, you have a target on your back.”

You can take his word for it—Brad was fired from Meritus Medical Center in Hagerstown, MD, after criticizing the hospital’s so-called “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” (DEI) initiatives on his private Facebook page.

Maryland forces all healthcare professionals to take implicit bias training. One of the courses at Meritus was called “B.I.R.T.H Equity Maryland,” an acronym for Breaking Inequality Reimagining Transformative Healthcare.

When Brad took the course, he was stunned. It was packed with claims that implicit bias causes a higher maternal mortality in black women, while providing zero evidence to support the claim.

“The course ignored the complex factors that contribute to higher black maternal mortality, including comorbidities, while defining any death from any cause after a year of giving birth as maternal mortality—a logical stretch,” he writes. “Overall, the course implied that white nurses like me are killing black mothers. I was supposed to internalize this message and somehow apply it to the management of my team.”

The DEI program kept getting more and more radical from there. Last January, Brad received DEI course materials for hospital leadership that stated the U.S. was built on “an ideology of White supremacy” that continues to inform modern society and harm people of color. That was it for Brad. He skipped the course, and nobody punished him.

He was invited weeks later to a seminar on “implicit bias.” He declined, again without penalty. It wasn’t until Brad posted on his private social media account that things got ugly. On February 7, Brad wrote on his Facebook page:

“No employer has the right to invade the unconscious spaces of it’s [sic] employees minds in an attempt to reprogram them into thinking certain ways. If your employer signs you up for an ‘Unconscious Bias’ aka ‘Implicit Bias’ training, then they are doing exactly that.”

Brad left out every possible identifying detail about his employer. He didn’t mention Meritus as his employer in the post or on his page. He simply expressed a viewpoint about the values that underpin the DEI agenda.

He was placed on administrative leave the next day. Four days later, he was fired. Just like that, his years of hard work and dedication in the emergency department of Meritus Medical Center, including promotions to management, were canceled.

A Meritus employee directly referenced Brad’s post as a reason for the termination, and claimed other posts were problematic too—though nobody could name specific ones. Another person in the meeting kept telling Brad that he’d drifted into “a touchy subject.”

Meritus didn’t fire Brad for opposing DEI—it fired him for explaining why.

Brad has been a registered nurse for 16 years, and has no intention of stopping. “I’m 47. I have many good years left in the workforce,” he writes. “I want to keep doing what I have always done, which is to provide the highest level of care to patients of every race, ethnicity and background. I also want to keep leading diverse teams, helping them become better nurses regardless of what they look like or whom they treat.”

Take Action

Contact the Meritus Medical Center and remind them that nurses have voices, too. Demand that Brad McDowell get his job back!

Phone: 301-790-8000 

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