Stopping Discrimination Before it Starts: The Impact of Civil Rights Laws on Healthcare Disparities - A Medical School Curriculum

Publication ID Published Version
7740 December 7, 2009 1


This curriculum is a joint project of the National Consortium for Multicultural Education for Health Professionals, Stanford University School of Medicine, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights. Some aspects of culturally competent care including access for limited English proficient persons and non-discrimination in healthcare on the basis of race, color, or national origin are not only essential for delivering high-quality care, but may be legally required.

This curriculum introduces medical students to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the law that prohibits recipients of federal funds, including hospitals that participate in the Medicare program, from discriminating on the basis of race, color or national origin. Through role-playing and discussion during an extensive hypothetical exercise, students not only learn about possible discriminatory actions under Title VI, but also gain new appreciation for the role that physicians can play as leaders in the broader public policy arena regarding healthcare disparities and discrimination. The content is presented in a 2 or 3-hour workshop aided by a detailed slide-by-slide facilitator guide including talking points, followed by a post-workshop assessment tool.

To download the corresponding hypothetical case (non peer-reviewed), please visit:


Bereknyei S, Foran S, Johnson K, Scott A, Miller T, Braddock III C. Stopping Discrimination Before it Starts: The Impact of Civil Rights Laws on Healthcare Disparities - A Medical School Curriculum. MedEdPORTAL Publications; 2009. Available from:

Educational Objectives

  1. To be able to discuss the relevance of civil rights law to healthcare practice.
  2. To be able to describe the current extent of health disparities.
  3. To be able to identify and address potential discrimination under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
  4. To be able to apply the law to hypothetical healthcare scenarios.
  5. To be able to understand how the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) enforces Title VI through investigations and technical assistance to healthcare providers and entities.


  • Title VI Violations, Prejudice (MeSH), Civil Rights (MeSH), Social Justice (MeSH), Discrimination, Health Disparities, Bias, Federal Law, Health Equity Research


  • Professionalism
  • Systems-based Practice

Professional Interest

  • Cultural Diversity/Cultural Competency
  • Health Equity Research
  • Medical Ethics
  • Professionalism

Instructional Methods

  • Lecture

Academic Focus

  • Clinical Sciences
    • Clinical Skills/Doctoring

Intended Audience

  • Professional School
    • Medical Student
  • Professional School Post-Graduate Training
    • Fellow
    • Resident


  • Presentation
  • Reference

Join the Conversation

Share your thoughts with other users. Please sign in to comment on this material.

Material Access

Please sign in to access this material.

Please register for an AAMC account if you do not have one.


  • MedEdPORTAL Home
  • Register
  • My MedEdPORTAL
  • Contact Us

Subscribe to Our Monthly Newsletter

Receive featured content & announcements!

ISSN 2374-8265