Ruqaiijah Yearby

Professor School of Law | Co-Director, Center for Equity | Co-Founder, Institute for Healing Justice and Equity, St. Louis University


While earning her Bachelors of Science in Honors Biology from the University of Michigan, Professor Ruqaiijah Yearby, JD, MPH wrote a thesis on plant biotechnology and served as a Research Assistant at the University of Natal in South Africa.  In 2000, Professor Yearby earned her Master of Public Health in Health Policy & Management from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and her law degree from Georgetown University Law Center, where she was on the Dean’s List. After law school, she worked at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as an Assistant Regional Counsel and served as a law clerk for the Honorable Ann Claire Williams of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

Practice Areas

Professor Yearby is a specialist in racial disparities in health care, the political economy of health care, and social justice in medical research.  She has dedicated her career to improving the lives of vulnerable populations by addressing the lack of equal access to quality health care.

Research Interests

Through her research and work with community groups, Professor Yearby advocates for equal access to quality health care and fair wages for racial and ethnic minorities, women, and the poor. Using empirical data, her research explores the ways in which inequities in society and the health care delivery system prevent minorities, women, and the economically disadvantaged from attaining equal access to quality health care, resulting in increased morbidity and mortality for minorities, women, and the economically disadvantaged. She serves as a Research Consultant and Board Member for ARCHES | the AmeRicans’ Conceptions of Health Equity Study, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant and was a Steering Committee member for the Health Improvement Partnership for Cuyahoga County Health Department in Ohio.

Publications and Media Placements

Her work has been cited in The Oxford Handbook of Bioethics (2007), Implicit Racial Bias Across the Law (Cambridge Univ. Press 2012), Lawless Capitalism: The Subprime Crisis and the Case for an Economic Rule of Law (NYU Press 2014), The New Eugenics: Selective Breeding in an Era of Reproductive Technologies (Yale Univ Press 2017), and the United States Code Annotated. Due to her expertise in justice and medical research, she presented her article, “Missing the ‘Target’: Preventing the Unjust Inclusion of Vulnerable Children for Medical Research Studies,” 42 Am. J. of L. & Med 797-833 (2016) (cited in Mark Hall, et al, Health Care Law and Ethics, 9th ed 2018), at the Oxford Global Health and Bioethics International Conference in Oxford, England.  She has served as a book proposal reviewer for Oxford University Press and Cambridge University Press, as well as a grant reviewer for the Wellcome Trust (the United Kingdom’s largest non-governmental source of funds for biomedical research).

SSRN Publications List

Professional Organizations and Associations

Professor Yearby joined the School of Law in 2018 as a full professor, member of the School’s Center for Health Law Studies, Co-founder of the Institute for Healing Justice and Director of the Center for Policy and Equity.  Previously, she was the David L. Brennan Chaired Professor and Associate Dean of Institutional Diversity and Inclusiveness at Case Western Reserve University School of Law. As Associate Dean, she created and implemented a number of innovative programs, including but not limited to, a diversity pipeline plan for faculty and staff hiring, an annual review evaluation form, an Employee of the Month Award, and the Diversity and Inclusion Scholars Program, which provided a small diverse group of 1L students with academic and career support. Yearby has been a visiting professor at Connecticut Law School and a professor at Loyola University Chicago and Buffalo Law School.

Contact Information