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20 years ago, a landmark report spotlighted systemic racism in medicine. Why has so little changed?

Brian Smedley, a health equity researcher at the Urban Institute, was the lead editor of "Unequal Treatment," a landmark 2002 report that examined health disparities in the U.S. “We are still largely seeing what some would call medical apartheid," he said.


This special report is the first of two parts. Read part 2 here.

The 764-page report minces no words about the inequality rife throughout medical care: “Racial and ethnic minorities experience a lower quality of health services, and are less likely to receive even routine medical procedures than are white Americans.”

Those words might have been written recently, amid a pandemic that has disproportionately sickened and killed people of color. In fact, they were written two decades ago.

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