Unequal Treatment at 20: Accelerating Progress toward Health Care Equity

In 2003, the National Academies Press published a landmark report, Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care, that shocked many policymakers and the medical establishment with its finding that racial and ethnic disparities in the quality of care are “remarkably consistent,” even after controlling for access-related factors, such as income and insurance status. Despite the national attention this report received, the nation has made little progress toward eliminating health care inequities in the 20 years since the report was published.

As the 20th anniversary of Unequal Treatment approaches, the Urban Institute is launching a new program of action to elevate health care inequities as a national priority and build momentum for key remedies and structural reforms. To kick-off the initiative, we invite you to join us for a full-day symposium designed to bring together policymakers, researchers, health care administrators and professionals, and other interested parties. The symposium will  

  • make evidence of the causes and consequences of health care inequities more accessible to patients, health care consumers, health care industry leaders, and policymakers;
  • identify the most promising research and policy strategies that have emerged in the 20 years since Unequal Treatment’s publication;
  • allow interested parties to collaborate to develop tools and mechanisms to hold practitioners and policymakers accountable, particularly at the state level, where key opportunities exist to establish equity-focused strategies; and
  • elevate the voices of patients from marginalized communities and a new generation of scholars of color whose perspectives must be centered in identifying research questions and solutions.


Featured Speakers

  • Oxiris Barbot, President and Chief Executive Officer, United Hospital Fund
  • Richard E. Besser, President and Chief Executive Officer, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
  • Daniel Dawes, Senior Vice President, Global Health & Executive Director, Institute of Global Health Equity at Meharry Medical College
  • Damon Francis, Medical Director, Homeless Health Center Alameda Health System; Chief Medical Officer, Health Leads; Assistant Clinical Professor, University of California, San Francisco
  • Tony Iton, Lecturer of Health Policy and Management and Senior Vice President for Healthy Communities, The California Endowment
  • Dayna Bowen Matthew, Dean and Harold H. Greene Professor of Law, The George Washington University Law School
  • Margaret Moss, Professor and Director, First Nations House of Learning
  • Sara Rosen Wartell, President, Urban Institute
  • David R. Williams, Florence Sprague Norman and Laura Smart Norman Professor of Public Health and Chair of the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health; Professor of African and African American Studies and Sociology, Harvard University
  • Carla Willis, Principal Research Associate, Urban Institute
  • Anna Zink, Principal Researcher, Chicago Booth's Center for Applied AI

More speakers to be announced soon.


Funding for this event was provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Episcopal Health Foundation. For more on Urban’s funding policies, go to urban.org/about/our-funding.

We strive to host inclusive, accessible events that enable all individuals, including individuals with disabilities, to engage fully. Please email [email protected] if you require any accommodations or have any questions about this event.  


Date & Time Tuesday, March 21, 2023
9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. EDT
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Urban Institute 500 L'Enfant Plaza SW
Washington , DC , 20024-2131
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