Diversity in Healthcare: From Executive Management to Entry Level

Diversity in Healthcare: From Executive Management to Entry Level

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Diversity in Healthcare: From Executive Management to Entry Level The civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s paved the way for minorities in America being given equal access to every opportunity and resource already available to the majority. While some would argue that true equality has still not been achieved in the United States, we are, in a sense, now immersed in an entirely new struggle that goes well beyond ethnicity. A microcosm of that struggle is demonstrated daily in the healthcare sector. The delivery of healthcare services applies to everyone seeking care regardless of age, sex, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability status, military status, or religious persuasion. Simply put, every human being needs appropriate healthcare in order to live a quality of life most of society would deem as desirable. Does it not then seem reasonable that a society made up of such a diverse population would benefit from an equally diverse healthcare system? Diversity in healthcare should be pervasive from top to bottom. There should not be, nor does there need to be, specific groups of people dominating executive management and entirely separate groups of people overwhelmingly represented in the rank and file, entry-level positions. Diversity in Healthcare Management In order for the diversity mindset to permeate the healthcare culture at all levels, it must start at the top.

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Published 14 October 2015
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Diversity in Healthcare: From Executive Management to Entry Level The civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s paved the way for minorities in America being given equal access to every opportunity and resource already available to the majority. While some would argue that true equality has still not been achieved in the United States, we are, in a sense, now immersed in an entirely new struggle that goes well beyond ethnicity. A microcosm of that struggle is demonstrated daily in the healthcare sector.
The delivery of healthcare services applies to everyone seeking care regardless of age, sex, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability status, military status, or religious persuasion. Simply put, every human being needs appropriate healthcare in order to live a quality of life most of society would deem as desirable. Does it not then seem reasonable that a society made up of such a diverse population would benefit from an equally diverse healthcare system? Diversity in healthcare should be pervasive from top to bottom. There should not be, nor does there need to be, specific groups of people dominating executive management and entirely separate groups of people overwhelmingly represented in the rank and file, entry-level positions. Diversity in Healthcare Management In order for the diversity mindset to permeate the healthcare culture at all levels, it must start at the top. Indeed, executive management ultimately decides how recruiting takes place and how hiring decisions are made. If management is not itself diverse, it cannot be expected to pursue an agenda of diversity down through the multiple layers of the system. A January 2012 report from Fierce Healthcare suggested that only 15% of the nation's healthcare professionals are confident hospital leadership has made significant strides in closing the minority gap. Furthermore, just 35% believe health organizations routinely and actively recruit and hire minority candidates. At the same time, survey respondents noted their awareness that the pool of minority candidates is larger than it has ever been. The fact that management does not appear to be making a concerted effort to broaden the diversity profile within its own ranks suggest the same problem exists, and probably to a greater degree, among the ranks of those workers who actually provide care to patients.
Little Has Changed in 25 Years Those at the forefront of the U.S. healthcare system have been fully aware of the diversity issue for decades. As far back as 1990, for example, the American College of Healthcare Executives has been tracking data regarding the number of minorities involved in executive management. They released their first report in 1990; updated reports were published in 1995, 1998, 2002, 2005, and 2010. According to the 2010 revision, 94% of all hospital CEOs were Caucasian, in contrast to Caucasians representing only 65% of the total U.S. population. This, despite the fact that 42% of all healthcare management graduates coming out of our universities belong to a recognized minority group. The number of minorities graduating from healthcare management programs in 1990-91 made up about 14% of total. Therefore, even though more minority graduates are attempting to break into the field, minority hiring within executive management has not improved. Hire and Retire Strategy Though the issues of diversity in healthcare may seem rather complicated, the solution is surprisingly straightforward. It is a solution that can be summed up in a simple phrase: hire and retire. In terms of hiring, healthcare facilities, staffing agencies and recruiters can make the conscious decision to aggressively market to minorities in order to encourage them to pursue healthcare careers. This marketing does not need to be condescending of those who do not fit into given minority groups, nor does it need to exclude non-minorities from the hiring process in order to reach diversity goals. Rather, focusing on getting out the message that minorities can and do succeed in healthcare, combined with targeted efforts to seek out minority candidates, should be sufficient. The retire aspect of the strategy is twofold. First, the initial wave of baby boomers has now reached retirement age. As they begin exiting the healthcare workforce in larger numbers, a concerted effort should be made to seek out minority candidates as replacements. Again, this is not necessarily to the exclusion of non-minorities. Rather, it is a concerted effort to include minorities in the discussion and then evaluate all candidates equally. The second part of the retire strategy may be the more difficult to accomplishaspiring to eventually eliminate labels once an acceptable level of diversity is achieved. This is an absolute must that should be part of any long-term diversity strategy. To the patient fighting for his or her life in the ICU, it matters not whether those providing care belong to the majority or one of several different minority groups. All that matters is that caregivers have the knowledge, skills, and commitment necessary for quality care. The longer we continue to segregate people according to majority and minority labels, the harder it will be to achieve true diversity in any sector, let alone healthcare. Labels need to be retired. The HealtheDiversity Jobs Strategy TheHealtheDiversity Jobswebsite (www.HealtheDiversity.com) has been developed with the hire and retire strategy in mind. We believe wholeheartedly in our tagline whichstates, ͞diǀersity iŶ healthcare is good ŵediciŶe.͟ To that eŶd, ǁe seek to connect job seekers with employers by offering an environment where the two can connect without regard to race, sex, ethnicity, or any other irrelevant factor. In addition, we offer both employers and job seekers a range of tools to help enhance their efforts in the job market. We use our blog posts as a means of highlighting current issues within the healthcare sector and encouraging job candidates of all backgrounds to make the most of their resources for finding work.
Lastly, we work with healthcare facilities and other industry organizations who choose not to look at job candidates through the lens of majority or minority groupings. All job seekers are people. We believe we are setting an example for how diversity in healthcare can be achieved from the top levels of executive management to the ranks of entry-level workers. Sources: 1.Fierce Healthcarel-tapios-hngsiis-2102/pihsredael501-2hp:ttww//fiw.ceerehlahtacerc.mos/tory/diversity-m 2.ACHEhttps://www.ache.org/policy/minority.cfm