Tulane Medical School Discrimination Lawsuit Settled

In Summary

The university's first Black residency director sued the institution in 2020, alleging discrimination.  

A lawsuit filed against Tulane University’s School of Medicine was quietly settled in Dec. 2021.  

In Oct. 2020, Dr. Princess Dennar, the school’s first Black residency director, filed a lawsuit alleging discrimination, unfair rotations for doctors and unsafe conditions for patients, according to The Associated Press.  

RELATED: Report: Medical Schools Admitted Fewer Black Male Students Over Last 40 Years 

Dennar began working at Tulane in 2008 when she was selected to lead the Medicine-Pediatrics residency program, BNC previously reported. According to Dennar, things were rocky from the start.  

“I interviewed with the chairman of the internal medicine department who is now the dean of the medical school, Dean Hamm,” she told WDSU News. “One of the things that was stated at the time was they didn’t want to change the face of Tulane and that they felt medical students did not rank favorably a program that had a Black program director.”  

Dennar filed the federal lawsuit, saying she had numerous complaints. “I complained about the unequal treatment, unfair treatment of residents, with unequal distribution of educational experiences,” she said. “I complained about the lack of monitoring residents when they were doing procedures on vulnerable patients. I complained about the lack of authority that was given to me while holding the role of program director.”  

After filing the federal lawsuit, Dennar was suspended in Feb. 2021. Tulane said she was suspended based on a series of concerns raised by a special review.  

RELATED: Medical Schools See Surge in Black Applicants During COVID-19 Pandemic  

Michael Strecker, a spokesperson for Tulane, said the claims “have been resolved,” and neither Dennar nor the university spoke about specifics,  The New Orleans Advocate reported.  

While Dennar is no longer affiliated with Tulane, she still plans to continue mentoring students after creating the school’s first all-female, all-person-of-color cohort of medical residents.  

Dennar is not letting Tulane stop her from pursuing her goal. She said, “I want to bring attention to racism in medicine on a national level so that not just physicians but also patients have a voice.”  

The high-profile lawsuit and the allegations led the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education to place the Tulane residency program on probation.  

Strecker said the institution is working on getting the probation lifted, but it also plans to “make lasting, systemic change that will position” the school as a leader in medicine.  

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