"The Flexner Report is a book-length study of medical education in the United States and Canada, written by Abraham Flexner and published in 1910 under the aegis of the Carnegie Foundation. Many aspects of the present-day American medical profession stem from the Flexner Report and its aftermath. ... In a very short time, medical colleges were all streamlined and homogenized (all the students were learning the same thing) ... Flexner sought to reduce the number of medical schools in the U.S. to 31, and to cut the annual number of medical graduates from 4,400 to 2,000. ... A repercussion of the Flexner Report, resulting from the closure or consolidation of university training, was reversion of American universities to male-only admittance programs to accommodate a smaller admission pool. Universities had begun opening and expanding female admissions as part of women's and co-educational facilities only in the mid-to-latter part of the 19th century with the founding of co-educational Oberlin College in 1833 and private colleges such as Vassar College and Pembroke College. ... Flexner viewed blacks as inferior and advocated closing all but two of the historically black medical schools. His opinions were followed and only Howard and Meharry were left open, while five other schools were closed. His perspective was that black doctors should only treat black patients and should serve roles subservient to white physicians. The closure of these schools and the fact that black students were not admitted to many medical schools in the US for 50 years after Flexner has contributed to the low numbers of American born physicians of color and the ramifications are still felt more than a century later. ...When Flexner researched his report, "modern" medicine faced vigorous competition from several quarters, including osteopathic medicine, chiropractic medicine, electrotherapy, eclectic medicine, naturopathy and homeopathy. Flexner clearly doubted the scientific validity of all forms of medicine other than that based on scientific research, deeming any approach to medicine that did not advocate the use of treatments such as vaccines to prevent and cure illness as tantamount to quackery and charlatanism. Medical schools that offered training in various disciplines including electromagnetic field therapy, phototherapy, eclectic medicine, physiomedicalism, naturopathy, and homeopathy, were told either to drop these courses from their curriculum or lose their accreditation and underwriting support. A few schools resisted for a time, but eventually all either complied with the Report or shut their doors. ..."
Key treatment modalities abandoned as a result included spending time in the sunshine (which we now know gives you essential vitamin D), an emphasis on good nutrition (which is not a "procedure" doctors can be trained in and bill for), and other aspects of having a happier life like humor and so on (e.g. what Dr. Andrew Weil or Patch Adams write about). Alternative medicine has spent a century fighting back on such topics.
Another consequence of that report is that the American Medical Association and the "MD" established a stranglehold on medical treatments. MDs became in short supply and could charge large amounts of money. So medical treatment of any kind became much less accessible for most people. And when you did have money to pay a doctor, they would invariably be a white male and not a woman or minority who you might be able to relate to more easily if you were the same.
Also ironically, the Bamberger family, who wanted to give back to the city of Newark in some way for the success for their department store there by creating a medical school and teaching hospital in Newark, NJ, were instead talked into funding the physical creation of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. Some of that is mentioned here: https://www.ias.edu/flexner-legacy
One big irony about Abraham Flexner is that he was very interested in hands-on education. While Flexner's excellent recommendations for making K-12 education "hands on" were ignored, his recommendation for making medical education "hands on" in terms of learning specific procedures were adopted by the mainstream instead of learning to see the bigger picture of a unwell person's life -- like Patch Adams advocated for instead with the Gesundheit! Institute. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patch_Adams
I have some other comments on that theme here:
"The Flexner Report a century ago (1910) began a purging process of alternative medicine practitioners in the USA. It lead indirectly to people like Herbert Shelton for being persecuted and prosecuted decades later for telling people age-old wisdom that sunlight, whole foods, and occasional fasting (and avoidance of stuff like cigarettes) could cure or prevent most chronic disease, and could do it better than mainstream medicine at the time (something that modern medical science is grudgingly coming to admit). Herbert Shelton may not have had the whole truth, but he had part of a bigger older truth, and he was harmed by a mainstream medical-financial system by advocating for that truth from the past and from his own experience."
I also include there a section of the older version of that Wikipedia article since removed: ""The Report (also called Carnegie Foundation Bulletin Number Four), called on American medical schools to enact higher admission and graduation standards, and to adhere strictly to the protocols of mainstream science in their teaching and research. ... One of the consequences of Flexner's advocacy of university-based medical education was that medical education became much more expensive, putting such education out of reach of all but upper-class white males. The small "proprietary" schools Flexner condemned, which were contended to be have been based in generations-old folk traditions rather than relatively recent western science, did admit African-Americans, women, and students of limited financial means. These students usually could not afford six to eight years of university education, and were often simply denied admission to medical schools affiliated with universities. At the same time, the Report tended to delegitimize existing women doctors and doctors of color. While many such doctors continued to practice, usually within underserviced clienteles, they did so under proscribed circumstances and for less pay."
And as I also mention there, From Marcia Angell: "The problems I've discussed are not limited to psychiatry, although they reach their most florid form there. Similar conflicts of interest and biases exist in virtually every field of medicine, particularly those that rely heavily on drugs or devices. It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine."
So, while the IAS is indeed a wonderful place as far as it goes, it is too bad Abraham Flexner did not advocate more broadly on the topic of the value of a diversity of knowledge and a diversity of exploration by a diversity of explorers -- especially in the medical field.