Diversity in healthcare: what’s the mystery?


Ask-Pam.png - SmallDiversity MBA recently completed our first annual healthcare summit with presenting sponsor, Carolinas HealthCare System and title sponsor, Institute for Diversity, an AHA affiliate.

We had 150 leaders participate in the summit, representing 40 organizations and companies.  These organizations, which included Diversity MBA’s new and existing partners, combined to create a powerful day of dialogue and engagement.

While I expected this summit was going to be powerful, it went beyond my imagination. Senior leaders showed up from across the country and across disciplines. I mean, we had CEOs , Chief Medical Officers, Chief Diversity Officers, Executive VPs, SVPs, VPs, university professors, consultants and experts in their fields coming together to discuss the impact of diversity and inclusion in health care. Our intent was to create a platform to allow companies to share best practice models and experiences that will foster creative and innovative thinking and engagement. We nailed it, as the saying goes.

Some of the testimonials from the attendees include:

• Participation and attendee engagement was powerful with great dialogue; Knowledge in the audience was rich and provocative;
• Leaders were open, honest and authentic in their sharing of experiences; you actually learned;
• Moderators and panelists were insightful and extremely qualified; speakers were energetic and engaging;
• The event was well done, exceptionally executed with high-end facilities at the Ritz Carlton;

So one might think, ‘It’s just another successful event—what is the big deal?’ Well, I caution you that it was so much more than that; the summit involved an industry whose very essence is to serve the diverse communities in which it resides and they, too, struggle with inclusive diversity within their cultures. They serve diverse communities and have created support systems to facilitate to communities receiving services, yet these health-care
organizations struggle with how to create an inclusive workplace with diverse representation in leadership.

So what is going in the health-care industry? I believe it varies but I will give them the benefit of doubt and say that they focused on addressing inequities in healthy living rather than diversifying their workforce, specifically the leadership.

DMBA Inclusive leadership Index has approximately 35 percent healthcare providers participating in the survey. Based on 2014 results, below are some insights on management representation:

• 95 percent Healthcare Chief Executive Officers are Caucasian male
• 28 percent of C-Level roles are people of color and 32 percent are Caucasian women;
• 38 percent women and people of color are in vice president, directors and similar roles;
• 29 percent people of color in management roles; and 49 percent Caucasian women in management roles

So what is the point? Health-care organizations need to be as relentless in ensuring that they have a diverse workforce represented in leadership roles as they are about inequities in patient care. Just saying?
Resource for more data on hospitals and diversity….www.diversityinstitute.org