Enacted as part of the watershed Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VI prohibits discrimination by federally assisted entities on the basis of race, color, or national origin. Indeed, the law is as broad as federal funding across the full range of programs and services that affect health. Over the years, governmental enforcement efforts have waxed and waned, and private litigants have confronted barriers to directly invoking its protections. But Title VI endures as the formal mechanism by which the nation rejects discrimination within federally funded programs and services. Enforcement efforts confront problems of proof, remedies whose effectiveness may be blunted by underlying residential segregation patterns, and a judiciary closed to legal challenges focusing on discriminatory impact rather than intentional discrimination. But Title VI enforcement has experienced a resurgence, with strategies that seek to use the law as a basic compliance tool across the range of federally assisted programs. This resurgence reflects an enduring commitment to more equitable outcomes in federally funded programs that bear directly on community health, and it stands as a testament to the vital importance of a legal framework designed to move the nation toward greater health equity.

You do not currently have access to this content.