Wednesday Aug 02, 2023

Framing a new post-affirmative action world. Insights from Dr. Ruth Simmons, Harvard University & Rice University, and Dr. Tamara Huff, orthopedic surgeon. E147

When the supreme court struck down race-conscious admissions this year, they ended policies of affirmative action that have helped to diversify college campuses since 1978. The ruling is considered detrimental to efforts to cultivate a representative healthcare workforce. At this year’s annual National Medical Association scientific assembly in New Orleans, Dr. Ruth Simmons was the keynote speaker at a symposium organized by the Cobb Institute, in association with Movement is Life (1). In this episode she explores the implications of the SCOTUS ruling with Dr. Tammy Huff, a board director for Movement is Life and an orthopedic surgeon.

In 1995, Dr. Simmons became the first African American woman to head a major college or university upon being named president of Smith College. Here, she established the first engineering program at a woman’s college. In 2001 she was selected president of Brown University, making her the first African American woman to head an Ivy League institution. She was later appointed President of Prairie View A&M University, the second-oldest public institution of higher education in the state of Texas. Most recently she joined Rice University, in her home state of Texas, as a President’s Distinguished Fellow, and is an advisor on HBCU engagement to Harvard University.

(1) “From Hopwood to Harvard: Anti-Affirmative Action in Higher Education Admissions Amidst Systemic Racism and Historical Racial Inequities in Health.”

© 2023 Movement is Life, Inc.

Host:           Dr. Tamara Huff, Vigeo Orthopedics 

Production:          Rolf Taylor, Project Advocacy

Executive Producer:     Dr. Randall Morgan, Cobb Institute 


“Merit has often been defined in the past in a political context. We cannot give so much credit to assertions of merit that are fundamentally rooted in something that is corrupt.”

“I want us to begin to talk about human worth in different terms, and not these, I would say, lazy ways of classifying people.”

“Seeing yourself as worthy of healthcare, seeing yourself as worthy of education, seeing your family and your children as worthy of something better – is powerful.”

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