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Processing the U.S. Supreme Court Decision to Overturn Affirmative Action


This morning, we are still processing the implications from yesterday’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn affirmative action, a decision that will impact future generations of students. This high court ruling reflects a perspective that we are now in a post-racial society with no need for intentional steps to create equity for underrepresented groups because we are all created equal. Simply put, that is not accurate. If that is indeed the case, then legacy admissions must go too, a differentiator that speaks to a power and money base considered “justifiable.”

While public colleges and universities will be the first to feel the impact, it will likely have a ripple effect on the recruitment and hiring practices in the American workplace. Studies, including one conducted by Harvard University, revealed that reversals in affirmative action in several states, led directly to a reduction of diversity in hiring. Yes, repercussions will follow and impact our future pipeline of women leaders in healthcare—college educated diverse women. 

With 70 percent of the healthcare workforce and 80 percent of the public health workforce being female and those women leaving the workforce in alarming numbers, educating a highly skilled, diverse workforce of the future is imperative to avert a major healthcare crisis. 

If there's no one watching the diversity mix of admissions and ensuring there is diverse talent representing the populations we serve in healthcare, we must consider how this will impact the future of equitable care for our society.

As the HBA, a tenured organization created to support women in the business of healthcare, with a focus on greater inclusion and intersectionality, this high court decision is cause for concern. The Supreme Court ruling only amplifies the new obstacles in our continued journey advocating for greater diversity and inclusion of women, and historically marginalized populations in our workforce. 

The monumental decision issued yesterday could forever shift the progress we have made in so many ways.