Do No Harm Sues American Association of University Women for Racial Discrimination

 RICHMOND, VA, June 20, 2024 – Do No Harm filed a lawsuit against the discriminatory “Selected Professions Fellowships” program offered by the American Association of University Women (AAUW), which illegally excludes certain women based on race.

Women pursuing an education in one of AAUW’s designated degree programs can receive $20,000 and networking opportunities. Fellowships awarded for medicine, law, and business are “restricted to women of color” and are “open only to women from ethnic minority groups … Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino/a, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, and Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander.”

AAUW’s “Selected Professions Fellowships” program violates the Civil Rights Act of 1866, 42 U.S.C. §1981, which requires racial equality in “to mak[ing] and enforce[ing] contracts.”

Do No Harm is filing on behalf of its medical-student members who meet all criteria laid out by AAUW but are ineligible to apply to the fellowship because of their race.

“We must keep identity politics out of medical education whether that be in the classroom or in medical fellowship programs,” said Dr. Stanley Goldfarb, Chairman of Do No Harm. “Every patient deserves access to the best possible care. Yet, ideologically driven fellowships such as those offered by the American Association of University Women, do not improve care. Medical fellowships should be awarded to students because of merit, not race.”

“The American Association of University Women should be ashamed of their archaic and illegal practice of discrimination based on race, said Kristina Rasmussen, Executive Director of Do No Harm. “As a women-led organization they should be lifting up all women. The AAUW should reverse course and open their fellowships and other opportunities to all women.”