A leader in public health and civil rights law, Matthew shines a light on racial inequality in health care.
Author: Matthew Cook
Photo of Dean Dayna Bowen Matthew

What is justice in health care? Is it ensuring everyone receives an equal share of available resources or only those they deserve, earn, or purchase? Or is it about guaranteeing a minimum amount or quality of care? Dayna Bowen Matthew, the dean and Harold H. Greene Professor of Law at the George Washington University Law School, prefers a Rawlsian view: everyone gets an equal opportunity to enjoy the greatest health and well-being possible.

Using Matthew’s perspective, one could conclude there’s a lack of justice in the American health care system. Can’t see it? Matthew spells it out in her most recent book Just Health: Treating Structural Racism to Heal America.

In Just Health, Matthew, a leader in public health and civil rights law who focuses on disparities in health, health care, and the social determinants of health, examines how systemic racism has led to worse health outcomes and a lower life expectancy for people of color. Through evidence of discrimination in housing, education, employment, and the criminal justice system, Matthew shows the multitude of ways that racial inequality undermines the health of minority populations. And she will be talking about it at the University of Rochester.

On December 7, Matthew will share insights, research, and conclusions from Just Health as part of the River Campus Libraries’ Neilly Author Series. She is the third of four speakers in the 2022–2023 Neilly Author Series season, dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical CenterJust Health and other books highlighted in this season’s talks support key concepts in the biopsychosocial model—developed by University professors George Engel and John Romano—which serves as the cornerstone of psychiatric education and training. The talk will be held in person and available over Zoom.

Register to attend Dayna Bowen Matthew’s talk

Just Health is an awakening,” exclaims Kimani Paul-Emile, a professor of law at the Fordham University School of Law. “It is a shockingly powerful exposition of how structural racism has caused a public health catastrophe happening in plain sight, every day, everywhere in the United States since the dawn of the nation. Elegantly written, accessible, and informative, it also offers concrete solutions to this pressing and untenable issue.”

Just Health is a follow-up to Matthew’s bestseller Just Medicine: A Cure for Racial Inequality in American Health Care.

Matthew joined George Washington Law in 2022. She previously taught at the University of Virginia School of Law, where she was cofounder and inaugural director of The Equity Center. In addition to her books, she has written numerous articles and book chapters on health and antitrust law topics that have appeared in the Virginia Law Review, the Georgetown Journal of Law, and the American Journal of Law and Medicine, among others. ∎

All Neilly Author Series talks are free and open to the public, made possible by the Andrew H. and Janet Dayton Neilly Endowed Fund. For more information on Dayna Bowen Matthew’s talk, contact Kim Osur, development manager at the River Campus Libraries.

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