Suit alleging discrimination at Tulane med school settled

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A lawsuit alleging racial discrimination at Tulane University’s School of Medicine has been settled.

Dr. Princess Dennar, a former director of the school’s residency program, filed the lawsuit in 2020. It alleged a decade of discrimination, unfair rotations for doctors in training in her program and unsafe conditions for patients. It was quietly dismissed on Dec. 30.

Neither party commented on the specifics of the suit or the terms of the settlement. Tulane spokesperson Michael Strecker told The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate only that the claims “have been resolved.”

Dennar told the newspaper she will continue working at University Medical Center, where she specializes in internal medicine. And while she is no longer affiliated with Tulane, she plans to continue to be a mentor after having cultivated Tulane’s first all-female, all-person-of-color cohort of medical residents.

“I want to bring attention to racism in medicine on a national level, so that not just physicians but also patients have a voice,” she told the newspaper, without commenting on the settlement.

Dennar filed the suit four months before she was dismissed as program director of the internal medicine pediatrics specialty, by the vote of a panel of 15 program directors and other doctors.

After that, dozens of residents called for the resignation of the school’s dean and, alleging in a letter that there was “deeply entrenched structural racism and bias” throughout the medical school.

The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, which regulates graduate medical programs, placed the residency program on probation in July. An ACGME statement at the time said the organization became aware of public reports of racial bias at Tulane’s GME program last February.

Strecker told the newspaper that the medical school “is working to address” the council’s concerns.

“Our goal is not just to have the probation status lifted but to make lasting, systemic change that will position us as a national leader among medical schools in graduate medical education,” Strecker said.