From Affirmative Action to Health: A Critical Appraisal of the Literature Regarding the Impact of Affirmative Action


Catherine Dower, Gale Berkowitz, Kevin Grumbach, Carrie Wong

Apr 1994

Affirmative action has been used by institutions and individuals in the United States since the 1960s to increase the participation of women and racial and ethnic minorities in employment, contracting and higher education. This report utilizes a broad perspective to review the data and research literature for insight into the complex relationship between affirmative action and health, particularly for women, minorities and historically underserved populations. In the review, we explore the direct and indirect impacts of affirmative action policies on the health status of individuals and populations. Based on the report’s findings, recommendations in three broad arenas—policy, research and information dissemination—are provided as appropriate next steps.