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 home >> Civil Rights History Project >> Survey of Collections and Repositories >> Collections >> Collection Record

The Civil Rights History Project: Survey of Collections and Repositories

Diversity in U.S. medical schools

Repository: University of California, San Francisco. Archives and Special Collections

Collection Description (Extant): Since September 2002, the UCSF Campus Oral History Program has collaborated with the Institute for Health Policy Studies on an interdisciplinary policy/history project funded by the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation. The study, which utilizes a variety of research methodologies, was designed to examine the history of affirmative action in the nation's medical schools in the decades following the Second World War, using oral history.

The Oral History Program is currently releasing ten interviews with fifteen informants focusing on case studies comparing two California medical schools with remarkably parallel histories: the University of California, San Francisco and Stanford. These detailed biographical interviews reveal the personal motivations and insights of fifteen narrators, selected from faculty and administration. They provide a qualitative, historically based, longitudinal study of the direct impact of the civil rights movement in the 1960s through the shifting national political environment of affirmative action in the last decades of the twentieth century.

The interviews reveal that key element was leadership on the part of both faculty and administration, often stemming from intense personal commitment. Lapses in leadership were overcome by the sheer tenacity of those who carried on with the program and "educated" critics by enlisting their participation in the admissions process. Moreover, the conscious strategy of broadening admissions policy during these years was facilitated by a concomitant increase in class size and health manpower funding that enhanced the nation's medical schools. Participation in student recruitment increased the power and influence of student activists as well, and many of the minority matriculants of the late 1960s and early 1970s graduated, created successful careers, and remained actively involved in the academic affairs of their institutions.

As these interviews reveal, the diversification of medical school classes was an intensely personal and social process, but the background of supportive federal legislation in civil rights and health manpower in the late 1960s and early 1970s was also an important catalyst. As the federal and state political environment became less supportive, concerned leaders tried to shore up their gains and maintain their progress through a variety of unique strategies. Copies of the oral histories will be available by the end of summer at the UC systemwide libraries, the National Library of Medicine, and the UCSF Kalmanovitz Library, Archives and Special Collections.

Collection URL: External Link

Finding Aid URL: External Link

Language: English

Rights (CRHP): Contact the repository which holds the collection for information on rights


African American doctors
Discrimination in higher education
Health facilities


Sound recordings


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   September 26, 2018
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