Hospital Desegregation and Population Health

Courtney Allen, University of Washington

There is a wealth of emerging research that focuses on the structural racism of the healthcare system that creates a bedrock of policy and practices that preserve white supremacy and prevent the elimination of health inequalities. To understand how structural and systemic racism still operate in hospital facilities, it is important to understand the origins of racially disparate health care in the United States: hospital segregation. Issues of segregation have been the focus of a great deal of research, but few studies have examined desegregation and health outcomes and previous conclusions have been mixed. The success of hospital desegregation and its effect on access to care and population health outcomes has not been fully investigated. This paper aims to understand how hospital desegregation changed access to hospital beds and affected population health outcomes, focusing on Mississippi, a state with a history of holdout institutions committed to preserving segregationist policies during the civil rights era. I examine how racialized access to beds changed before and after desegregation occurred in hospitals and compare life expectancy of white and Black patients in Mississippi during this period using US mortality data. These data will expose the geographic landscape of healthcare access in Mississippi, which rapidly and disproportionately evolved between the period 1964-1969.

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 90. Public Health and Population Health