Dayna Bowen Matthew

  • William L. Matheson and Robert M. Morgenthau Distinguished Professor of Law
  • F. Palmer Weber Research Professor of Civil Liberties and Human Rights
  • Professor of Public Health Sciences
  • Director, The Equity Center

Dayna Matthew, a leader in public health who focuses on racial disparities in health care, joined the Virginia faculty in 2017. She is the author of the book “Just Medicine: A Cure for Racial Inequality in American Health Care.”

At UVA, she serves as director of The Equity Center, an initiative that seeks to build better relationships between UVA and the Charlottesville community and tangibly redress racial and socioeconomic inequality.

Matthew previously served on the University of Colorado law faculty as a professor, vice dean and associate dean of academic affairs. She was a member of the Center for Bioethics and Humanities on the Anschutz Medical Campus and held a joint appointment at the Colorado School of Public Health.

She has also taken on many public policy roles. Matthew worked with a law firm partner in 2013 to found the Colorado Health Equity Project, a medical-legal partnership incubator aimed at removing barriers to good health for low-income clients by providing legal representation, research and policy advocacy. In 2015 she served as the senior adviser to the director of the Office of Civil Rights for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, where she expedited cases on behalf of historically vulnerable communities besieged by pollution. She then became a member of the health policy team for U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, and worked on public health issues.

During 2015-16 she was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellow, in residence in Washington, D.C., and pivoted her work toward population-level clients. She forged relationships with influential policy groups such as the Brookings Institution, where she is currently a non-resident senior fellow, and the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.

Before academia, Matthew practiced as a civil litigator both in Kentucky, at the law firm of Greenebaum, Doll and McDonald, and in Virginia, at McGuireWoods, where her work primarily focused on the defense of medical care providers and corporate manufacturers in state courts, federal courts, and before administrative and licensing tribunals.

Matthew graduated with an A.B. in economics from Harvard-Radcliffe and, after a brief stint as a commercial real estate banker, obtained a J.D. from the University of Virginia. While studying at Virginia, Matthew served as an editor of the Virginia Law Review, won the Law School's William Minor Lile Moot Court Competition, and taught as a Hardy Dillard Writing Fellow. Following graduation, Matthew clerked for Justice John Charles Thomas, the first African-American justice to sit on the Virginia Supreme Court. She taught at Virginia as an assistant professor from 1991-94. In 2018, she received a Ph.D. in health and behavioral sciences from the University of Colorado at Denver.

Matthew has written articles on health and antitrust law topics that have appeared in the Virginia Law Review, the Georgetown Journal of Law and Modern Critical Race Perspectives, and the American Journal of Law and Medicine, among others. 

She is the recipient of several awards, including the Colorado University School of Law's Clifford Calhoun Faculty Award for Public Service (May 2015) and the Margaret Willard Award (2015, presented by the University Women's Club of Boulder). She was recently named one of the Top 25 Most Powerful Women (2016) by the Colorado Women's Chamber of Commerce. 


  • J.D.
    University of Virginia School of Law
  • Ph.D.
    University of Colorado at Denver
  • B.A.
    Harvard-Radcliffe College


Just Medicine: A Cure for Racial Inequality in American Health Care (New York University Press, 2015).

Book Chapters:

“Time for Justice: Tackling Race Inequalities in Health and Housing” (with Richard V. Reeves and Edward Rodrigue), in Michael E. O’Hanlon, ed., Brookings Big Ideas for America 28 (Brookings Institution Press, 2017).

“Legal Battles Against Discrimination in Healthcare,” in I. Glenn Cohen, Allison K. Hoffman & William M. Sage, eds., The Oxford Handbook of U.S. Health Law 167 (Oxford University Press, 2015).

“Applying Lessons from Social Psychology to Repair the Health Care Safety Net for Undocumented Immigrants,” in Mark A. Hall & Sara Rosenbaum, eds., The Health Care “Safety Net” in a Post-Reform World 91 (Rutgers University Press, 2011). SSRN

“Prohibition on Qui Tam Lawsuits,” in American Bar Association Section of Public and Contract Law, Qui Tam Lawsuits Under the False Claims Act 37 (2d ed. 1999).

“Antitrust Law in the Health Care Industry” (co-authored), Kentucky Health Law (2d ed. 1995).


“Structural Inequality: The Real COVID-19 Threat to America’s Health and How Strengthening the Affordable Care Act Can Help,” 108.6 Geo. L.J. (2020).

"Two Threats to Precision Medicine Equity," 29:3 Ethnicity & Disease (2019).

“Health and Housing: Altruistic Medicalization of America’s Affordability Crisis,” 81:3 Law & Contemp. Probs. 161 (2018).
HeinOnline (PDF)

“The Law as Healer – How Paying for Medical-Legal Partnerships Saves Lives and Money” (Center for Health Policy at Brookings, January 2017).

“Health, Housing, and Racial Justice: An Agenda for the Trump Administration” (with Richard V. Reeves and Edward Rodrigue) (Economic Studies at Brookings, January 2017).

“Toward a Structural Theory of Implicit Racial and Ethnic Bias in Health Care,” 25 Health Matrix 61 (2015).

“Ethical Precepts for Medical Volunteerism: Including Local Voices and Values to Guide RHD Surgery in Rwanda” (with Marilyn E. Coors and Thomas L. Matthew), 41 J. Med. Ethics 814 (2015).

“Health Care, Title VI, and Racism’s New Norm,” 6 Geo. J.L. & Critical Race Persp. 3 (2014).

“Reining in the Rogue Squadron: Making Sense of the ‘Original Source’ Exception for Qui Tam Relators,” 69 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. 409 (2012). SSRN

“Implementing American Health Reform: The Fiduciary Imperative,” 59 Buff. L. Rev. 715 (2011). SSRN

“The Social Psychology of Limiting Health Care Benefits for Undocumented Immigrants – Moving Beyond Race, Class, and Nativism,” 10 Houston J. Health L. & Pol’y 201 (2010).

“Defeating Health Disparities – A Property Interest Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010,” 113 W. Va. L. Rev. 31 (2010).

“Race, Religion, and Informed Consent – Lessons from Social Science,” 36 J.L. Med. & Ethics 150 (2008). SSRN

“A Property Right to Health Care” (with Mark Earnest), 29 J. Legal Med. 65 (2008). SSRN

“The ‘Race Card’ and Reforming American Health Insurance,” 14 Conn. Ins. L.J. 435 (2008). SSRN

“Disastrous Disasters: Restoring Civil Rights Protections for Victims of the State,” 2 J. Health & Biomed. L. 213 (2007). SSRN

“The Moral Hazard Problem with Privatizing Public Enforcement: The Case of Pharmaceutical Fraud,” 40 U. Mich. J.L. Reform 281 (2007). SSRN

“A New Strategy To Combat Racial Inequality In American Health Care Delivery,” 9 DePaul L. Rev. 793 (2005). SSRN

“Assessing Patient Protection Laws: A Look at The Economic Justifications for Regulating the Managed Care Market,” 47 St. Louis U. L.J. 299 (2003).

“The New Federalism Approach to Medicaid: Empirical Evidence,” 90 Ky. L.J. 973 (2002).

“An Economic Model To Analyze the Impact of False Claims Act Cases on Access to Health Care for the Elderly Disabled, Rural and Inner-City Poor,” 27 Am. J.L. & Med. 439 (2001). SSRN

“Tainted Prosecution of Tainted Claims: The Law, Economics and Ethics of Fighting Medical Fraud Under the Civil False Claims Act,” 73 Ind. L.J. 526 (2001).

 “Reverse Agency Costs of Employer Based Health Insurance,” 31 Wake Forest L. Rev. 1037 (1996).

“Doing What Comes Naturally: Antitrust Law and Hospital Mergers,” 31 Hous. L. Rev. 814 (1994).

Note, “The ‘Terminal Condition’ Condition in Virginia’s Natural Death Act,” 73 Va. L. Rev. 749 (1987).

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