Compounding the racial discrimination experienced generally, is the institutional racism in health care that affects access to health care and the quality of health care received. Despite efforts to eliminate discrimination and reduce racial segregation over the past thirty years, little change in the quality of or access to health care for many minorities has occurred. According to the US Commission on Civil Rights:

“Despite the existence of civil rights legislation equal treatment and equal access are not a reality for racial/ethnic minorities and women in the current climate of the health care industry. Many barriers limit both the quality of health care and utilization for these groups, including . . . discrimination.”

Racial discrimination in health care delivery, financing, and research continues to exist, and racial barriers to quality health care manifests themselves in many ways including: lack of economic access to health care, barriers to hospitals and health care institutions, barriers to physicians and other providers, racial discrimination in medical treatment, discriminatory policies and practices, lack of language and culturally competent care, disparate impact of the intersection of race and gender, inadequate inclusion in health care research, and rationing through managed care.