Our response to the Supreme Court's decision in Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fellows of Harvard College

As President Claudine Gay and other Harvard leadership recently mentioned in their e-mail to the Harvard community, the Supreme Court recently delivered its decision in Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fellows of Harvard College. The Court held that Harvard College’s admissions system does not comply with the principles of the equal protection clause embodied in Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. The Court also ruled that colleges and universities may consider in admissions decisions “an applicant’s discussion of how race affected his or her life, be it through discrimination, inspiration, or otherwise.” Harvard will certainly comply with the Court’s decision.

At the HMS Center for Primary Care, we echo Harvard’s affirmations:

  • Because the teaching, learning, research, and creativity that bring progress and change require debate and disagreement, diversity and difference are essential to academic excellence.
  • To prepare leaders for a complex world, Harvard must admit and educate a student body whose members reflect, and have lived, multiple facets of human experience. No part of what makes us who we are could ever be irrelevant.
  • Harvard must always be a place of opportunity, a place whose doors remain open to those to whom they had long been closed, a place where many will have the chance to live dreams their parents or grandparents could not have dreamed.

Additionally, the Center for Primary Care affirms that health equity requires that the physicians and clinicians who patients trust with their lives are part of a diverse team. We hold firm that health care leadership must not only learn about diversity from a textbook but bring a range of lived experiences to the table. A lack of diversity directly affects the health and well-being of health care professionals and patients.

Given the widespread inequity our country is experiencing and has experienced for decades, a commitment to promoting equal access to primary care and clinician diversity should not only remain a focus but be strengthened over time. We will continue to advocate for removing structural obstacles for people who live in marginalized communities to receive the highest level of care and educational opportunities. As a Center, we stand by communities, patients, clinicians, and future clinicians by upholding our mission to promote and support primary care equity to improve health and well-being—for all.



Russ Electronic Signature

Russell Phillips, MD

Director, Center for Primary Care
On behalf of HMS Center for Primary Care staff and faculty