Tulane University’s First Black Residency Director Files Racial Discrimination Lawsuit
By: Alyssa Wilson
Dr. Princess Dennar, Tulane University’s first Black residency director, is speaking out about her experience after filing a racial discrimination suit against the medical school.
Her journey at the institution began in 2008 when she was selected to lead the Medicine-Pediatrics residency program. She told WDSU that things were questionable 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 said. “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.”
In October 2020, she filed a federal lawsuit against the medical school, accusing it of discrimination. “I complained about the unequal treatment, unfair treatment of residents, with unequal distribution of educational experiences. 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,” Dennar said.
Months later, in February 2021, Dennar was suspended by the university from her position. The institution said she was suspended based on a series of concerns raised by a special review. Tulane then issued a new statement and offered the restore Dennar’s job, but she declined.
Her suspension led to public outcry and calls for an investigation. Doctors across the country protested and boycotted Tulane’s medical school. Some of the graduate medical education programs at Tulane are now on probation. The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education notified the school of its probation status on July 2.
Dennar still works at Tulane University, but she is focused on fighting injustices in the medical industry. She has even started an animated series on Twitter with information on the topic. She has also created a GoFundMe to help with the financial costs of the lawsuit.
“It’s not just what is said but also what our medical institutions allow to be said, based on stereotypes, that matter.” –P. Dennar, MD
Thank you @DrJRubenstein @DrAndriaTatem for an amazing partnership. Watch Episode 3
— Princess Dennar (@DrDennar) July 2, 2021
“It’s been hard. You know? But for some reason, the ancestors, the universe have been chosen me to take this torch and I believe I am doing this for a better good. I couldn’t continue to sit in silence in an environment that’s unapologetically harmful,” she said.