Healthcare Can Only Be as Diverse as Its Leadership

For the last few years, there have been discussions about the need to make healthcare more diverse. We have talked about recruiting more minority students into medical careers, ending wage disparities, providing access to educational programs, and so on. We have spoken extensively about diversity in the executive suite. Yet the strides we have made have been painfully slow. It turns out that healthcare can only be as diverse as its leadership.

CEOs and other executives openly agree with the fact that we need more diversity in the C-suite. Hospitals across the country are working with educational institutions to encourage more minorities to pursue healthcare management. Headhunters are looking for minorities, and staffing agencies are begging for them.


So why do things seem so challenging? Because nothing as drastic as overhauling the healthcare system comes quickly or easily. It is a long and slow process that requires a commitment to years of hard work. Thankfully, there are a lot of good people willing to put forth whatever effort it takes to achieve the kind of diversity we all hope to see in the future.

Three Benefits of a Diverse C-Suite

Lest those currently in healthcare administration believe that creating a diverse C-suite will have very little impact on core business goals, it is important to point out the benefits of greater diversity. Make no mistake; numerous studies have been done over the years proving that bringing diversity into executive management increases productivity, revenues, and market share. This is true in almost every business sector, not just healthcare.

Reaching diversity goals in the healthcare C-suite specifically offers the following three benefits:

1. Better Understanding of Patients – If the ultimate goal of healthcare is to create positive patient outcomes and improve health, it is incumbent upon every organization to understand its patients. Therefore, every facet of the healthcare organization should be fairly representative of the patients they serve. This includes the C-suite. Integrating more diversity into healthcare management results in a better understanding of patients.

2. Greater Innovation – Where there is no C-suite diversity, decisions are made from limited perspectives. This stifles both innovation and discovery. By increasing C-suite diversity, healthcare organizations can facilitate greater innovation that will lead to the methodologies, treatments, drugs, and medical equipment of the future, all capable of providing the widest range of benefits to the largest group of patients.

3. Motivation of Young People – Young people who may not otherwise give any thought to careers in executive management may be motivated to do so by relatives or family friends who set a good example. If nothing else, increasing diversity in the healthcare C-suite lays the groundwork for future generations to carry the torch. If we want to diversify all of healthcare, we have to start somewhere. The executive suite is as good a place as any other.

Utilizing diversity is all about taking advantage of different perspectives, personalities, experiences, and bodies of knowledge. A lack of diversity in any sector leads to stagnation over time, which is just what the healthcare industry has been stuck in for so long. A lot of us want to see that change. We want to see the healthcare industry transformed from a system that is merely adequate for minorities to one that is the absolute best in the world regardless of one’s sex, ethnicity, etc.

We have made measurable strides over the years even if they have been slow. Now is not the time to quit. Now is the time to pursue diversity in the C-suite more aggressively than we ever have.

Healthcare Careers: Creating the Spark That Becomes a Flame

Take the time to look around any typical town or city and you will find African-American and Latino kids who know very little about careers in healthcare, let alone having given any thought to them. It’s not that minority students cannot become excellent healthcare professionals; it is just that they do not consider healthcare as a career path because they are rarely exposed to the available opportunities.

A program offered by Vanderbilt University aims to change that by introducing minority students to the full array of healthcare opportunities. By funneling students into specific pipelines based on their interests, they hope to create that spark that will eventually become a career flame. So far, so good.


From Research to Medical School

Vanderbilt’s Aspirnaut program in Nashville is doing great work in recruiting minority candidates for the medical field. The program was recently highlighted in an online Wall Street Journal piece featuring one young man who, as a junior in high school, applied to the program with a “vague idea” that he might want to be a doctor someday. Vanderbilt teamed the young man with a biomedical researcher for a six-week program of investigating the relationship between diabetes and kidney problems.

This young man worked side-by-side with the researcher on some very important work that will hopefully have a significant impact on diabetes treatment. But he did more than just learn. He also co-wrote a research article that was published in a mainstream journal.

At the end of the six-week program, the young man knew he wanted to be a doctor. He is now a senior preparing to graduate from the University of Arkansas before entering medical school. If not for the six-week Vanderbilt program, this young man may have decided on some other career path.

Curiosity an Amazing Thing

The reality of African-Americans and Latinos entering the healthcare field as anything other than entry-level, lower-wage earners is that limited opportunities are often the result of limited knowledge. Countering that is a matter of taking advantage of simple curiosity.

Curiosity is an amazing thing when it is fed the right kind of food. Just like the young man from Arkansas, there are other students from minority communities who may have curiosities about medical careers but no means to find out more. The result is students likely to gravitate toward careers they know about rather than seeking to learn more about medicine.

Programs like Aspirnaut can provide the missing link between curiosity and career choice. All it takes in many cases is giving minority students an opportunity to pursue their curiosities in the right kind of environment. Sure, some will decide that a career in medicine is not right for them, but others will have their curiosities rewarded with a genuine desire to pursue a medical career.

Focus on Young People

The Vanderbilt program is a great program that gives us a model moving forward. These kinds of programs, which are cropping up all over the country, focus on solving the diversity problem by targeting young people who will eventually end up being the healthcare professionals of tomorrow. We need to keep that focus.

Diversity’s future relies on proactive strategies that encourage African-Americans, Latinos, and other minorities to satisfy their curiosities by spending time learning what healthcare careers are all about. More often than not, the kids traveling through these educational pipelines come out the other end with a genuine desire to pursue careers in medicine. What starts as a spark of curiosity can become a flame of pursuit when fanned correctly.


1. Wall Street Journal –

Female Doctors Making It Work in Rural America

It is an undeniable fact of healthcare life here in America: rural areas are desperately short of family practice doctors. Often, people living in rural communities have to travel long distances just to see the family doctor for what might be considered mere routine in the big city. Knowing that, it is becoming increasingly more apparent that the healthcare industry needs to find ways to recruit doctors to rural areas and keep them there. Right now, there is particular emphasis on female doctors.

An excellent study published in the May/June (2016) issue of Annals of Family Medicine highlights this very topic by way of a research study conducted by a team of professionals from Michigan State University, the University of Kentucky, Yale, the University of Miami, Columbia University, and Mount Sinai Hospital. The study’s abstract presents the purpose of the researchers as follows:

“Women family physicians experience challenges in maintaining work-life balance while practicing in rural communities. We sought to better understand the personal and professional strategies that enable women in rural family medicine to balance work and personal demands and achieve long-term career satisfaction.”


This purpose is pretty self-explanatory. If the researchers were able to find what they were looking for, and it appears they were, the conclusions they have come to could be very helpful in recruiting more females to family medicine in rural areas.

Three Keys to Success

The study in question examined 25 female family physicians practicing in rural locations in 13 different states. Each participant was interviewed to discover what kinds of strategies they use to maintain a healthy work-life balance. From those interviews, the researchers were able to get a clearer picture of how to help female family doctors succeed. They came up with three key areas of importance:

  • Family and Community Support – Researchers found that doctors with a good support system in place fared better in rural communities. That support system typically includes spouses, practice partners, and the community itself. When doctors know that they have the support of those around them, they tend to be more fulfilled in their work and more successful as well.
  • Scheduling Flexibility – Family medicine is not always predictable. However, things are even more unpredictable in rural areas where there may not be enough patients on any given day to warrant keeping the office open. The most successful female family doctors involved in the research study say they flourish when their communities are amenable to flexible scheduling.
  • Personal Boundaries – Near the top of the list of things mentioned in the survey is the need for personal boundaries. In rural communities, personal boundaries may be difficult because everyone in the community knows everyone else. Where a doctor can simply disappear in the big city, this is not possible in a rural community. Therefore, doctors need to be able to set clear boundaries that community members will respect. When the doctor is off the clock, she is off the clock.

There is an obvious need to get more family doctors into rural America. If we can do that by creating conditions that make it easier for female doctors and their families to achieve a proper work-life balance, perhaps more of them would be willing to leave the big cities in favor of small communities.

Rural family medicine certainly does have its advantages that female doctors would be more than happy to benefit from. Hopefully, the research discussed in this post will have a positive effect on encouraging more females to practice family medicine in rural environments. Patients could sure use it.


  •  Annals of Family Medicine –

Long-Term Strategies for a More Diverse Healthcare Sector

In a perfect world, the workforce of any industry would generally reflect the demographics of the community in which that workforce is located.There are some fields, like healthcare, that are dominated by the majority and other fields dominated by minorities. The whole point of diversity is to change that.

Diversity is particularly important in healthcare given that people of all ethnic and demographic groups need access to healthcare services. Healthcare is an equal opportunity service provider by necessity, so our workforce needs to reflect demographic realities. The question we continue to grapple with is how to achieve the diversity we desire.


Borrowing from what some other industries have done in the past, we have come up with some strategies that will likely improve diversity in the long run. We stress long-term strategies because there is no magic fix that will create genuine diversity overnight. Creating a more diverse healthcare environment is a long-term goal requiring long-term strategies. It is a goal requiring a commitment to developing the talents and abilities of young people.

More Education for Minority Groups

Digging around news feeds looking for stories relating to diversity in hiring practices reveals frequent news stories talking about how minority students have had their eyes opened to opportunities they never knew existed before. How is this occurring? Through educating minority groups about the full compendium of career opportunities out there.

Simply put, minority students do not tend to think of certain kinds of careers – like healthcare management, for example – because those careers are not well represented within their communities. They have to be exposed to those career opportunities in a positive way before they will start thinking about them.

Challenging Students to Do Better

Individuals and organizations leading the way in educating minority groups often observe that even when students are educated about healthcare careers, many of them think those careers are out of reach. Minority students believe that even if they did have a specific career dream, they do not have the ability to make that dream a reality. We can change that by challenging students to do better.

A big part of achieving diversity in the healthcare arena is to encourage young people to not simply settle. It is to challenge them every day to do better, to go further, and to work harder. Once young students come to understand that they can truly achieve whatever they set their minds to, they will also begin to believe those careers they have dreamed about are well within their reach.

Keeping Every Door Open

With education and programs to challenge students established, we must then adopt a third strategy of making sure every door is kept open at all times. In other words, minority students wishing to pursue careers as doctors and advanced practice nurses need every opportunity to pursue those goals. They need educational opportunities, the ability to pay for those opportunities, and additional open doors to residencies, fellowships, and the like. We have to keep the doors wide open and, where necessary, come alongside to help minority candidates walk through those doors.

Greater diversity in healthcare need not be a pipe dream we continue to talk about but see no action on. If we are willing to take a long-term approach to developing talent from within the ranks of young students, we can achieve a well-balanced workforce that properly reflects America’s demographics. It is a good goal to have, and one that is very much worth the time, effort and money put into it.

Career Tips for Women in Healthcare

Women pursuing certain careers in healthcare continue to struggle for wage equality and access to the C-suite, among other things. In those struggles, the most important asset women have is themselves. They are their own strongest advocate when it comes to making sure they reach their career objectives in the ways they want them to be reached.

U.S. News & World Report published a fascinating piece back in March (2016) offering millennial women four strategic tips for developing their careers in 2016. In light of the challenges women face in healthcare, we thought it might be interesting to look at those four tips within the arena of the healthcare environment.


All four tips are rooted in the previously mentioned idea of women being their own greatest advocates. The more women do for themselves, the further along their careers will be advanced. With that said, here are the tips along with our comments as to how they relate to healthcare:

1. Use Interviews as a Learning Tool

The interview process used to be one in which the candidate underwent a fairly rigorous grilling designed to enable the hiring manager to learn everything necessary to make a hiring decision. Things have changed. Today’s interviews are more like interactive conversations. Women should take advantage of these conversations as a learning tool. In other words, ask lots of questions about the workplace culture, the goals of the employer, what their views are regarding diversity in the workplace, and so on.

Learning as much as possible during the interview process makes it easier for women to make good decisions about whom they choose to work for. The right decisions can go a long way toward advancing a woman’s career. Bad choices can stunt a career as well.

2. Take Ownership of Value

Women in the healthcare sector still find it too easy to underestimate their value. For example, consider the nurse who, when asked by a family member for a prognosis, replies with something like, “that’s not something I can speak on; I’m just a nurse.” There’s no such thing as ‘just a nurse’ – or just anything. Women need to take ownership of the value they bring to the healthcare environment and not be afraid to let it be known. Women who are confident of their value tend to climb the ladder more quickly.

3. Never Stop Networking

The old adage that says the squeaky wheel gets the grease is undoubtedly true in healthcare. Women can use this to their advantage by constantly networking throughout their careers. The more valuable connections a woman can make, the more likely she is to have the kinds of opportunities she needs to advance her career.

4. Continually Seek out Mentors

Hand-in-hand with networking is an ongoing commitment to seeking out new mentors. No woman, no matter how much she contributes to her work environment, will ever reach the place where she can comfortably say she has arrived. Career development is an ongoing, lifelong process that does not end until retirement. With that in mind, there are always mentors capable of providing sound advice and wisdom. Women who want to make the most of their healthcare careers need to seek out those mentors willing to help them along the career journey.

Equality and diversity are goals the healthcare industry is working on. But until we reach that place where most of the hard work is done, women need to continue to be their own advocates for self-empowerment and career development. That’s possible when the right kinds of strategies are adopted.


  • U.S. News & World Report –

Diversity May Still Be Out of Reach in Medical Research

A brand-new study recently published in the PLOS Medicine journal suggests that we still have quite a way to go in order to achieve diversity in medical research. The study, out of the University of California at San Francisco, indicates that medical research still focuses primarily on white males despite government attempts to increase diversity over the last several decades.

Lead study author Sam Jacob told the Huffington Post’s Erin Schumaker that the lack of diversity in medical research has been known for decades. That may be one of the reasons why President Bill Clinton signed into law the National Institutes of Health Revitalization Act in 1993. Jacob insists the law has done very little to change things. He told the Huffington Post that “we’ve known for many decades that racial and ethnic disparities have existed for some of the worst diseases — the most fatal and devastating diseases.”


The 1993 legislation made it mandatory for all federally-funded medical research to be more diverse. The problem with the law is that it sets no standard for diversity or measuring it. It simply states that women and people of color must be included in research. Whether purposely vague or not, the law has far too many loopholes to be effective.

As Schumaker pointed out, fewer than 2% of the 10,000 federally-funded cancer studies undertaken since 1993 have focused primarily on minorities. Less than 5% of the respiratory studies included minority participants at any level. The NIH contends it is working hard to solve the problem, but the evidence does not suggest they are succeeding.

Budget Cuts and Recruiting Problems

The NIH contends that regular budget cuts and recruiting problems are hindering their efforts to increase diversity in medical research. Budget cuts are a big problem because less money for research means that research teams have less to invest in recruiting the kinds of study participants they deem ideal. They are forced to leave recruiting efforts to specialist medical groups that have easy access to potential participants with very little marketing.

Another problem, according to the NIH, is the fact that minorities are far more likely to work multiple jobs in order to provide for their families. They are less likely to be able to take time away from work and other responsibilities to participate in studies they would otherwise be interested in. As such, the NIH is looking at a number of possible solutions, including increased funding for higher payments and introducing more flexibility in research scheduling.

Diversity and Medical Advancement

The central point of the University of California study is the fact that increasing diversity in medical research is not about politics; it is about medical advancement. Jacob points out, as just one example, the fact that there are genetic differences between different ethnic groups. With so much emphasis on genetics in pharmaceuticals and life sciences, having access to a diverse selection of study participants enables researchers to get a better handle on when they are trying to learn.

Simply put, diversity in medical research enables researchers to better understand the disease in question. And with a better understanding comes more opportunities for successful drug developments. More diversity in medical research would make it much more likely that pharmaceutical companies could produce products capable of helping the largest segment of the total population regardless of sex or ethnicity.

It is clear we still have a way to go to achieve the goals originally set out in 1993 under the Clinton administration. If we keep working on it, we can accomplish diversity in medical research.


  • Huffington Post –

Minority Candidates Still Having a Tough Time after Graduation

College recruiters looking to fill the ranks of their healthcare-related programs tend to tell potential candidates the same thing: get your graduate degree, develop great relationships with your professors and other professionals, complete a residency or internship, and graduate with a high GPA. If you can do all those things, there will be jobs waiting for you after graduation. The problem is, things do not always work out that way.

Graduates from medical programs have been having a tough time finding work right after graduation regardless of sex or ethnicity. Yet numbers show black students are having an especially difficult time right now. As a case in point, the Seattle Times recently profiled a 23-year-old graduate who got a degree in healthcare human resources but now cannot find a job in his field. He is working part-time in retail while he looks for a full-time position.


Graduates with healthcare degrees are not the only ones struggling in the new economy. All across the country, there are young people who cannot find jobs in their chosen fields despite having spent tens of thousands of dollars going to school. But this should not be so in the healthcare sector. In the midst of a profound labor shortage and continued growth within the sector, there should be ample jobs for everyone.

Where We Stand Right Now

According to the Seattle Times, the unemployment rate among white college graduates last year was 4.9%. Among blacks with college degrees, it was 12.4%. The 7.5% disparity between the two is the highest it has been in a long time. Even at the start of the recession in 2007 the difference between black and white unemployment was only 1.4%.

So, what can minority candidates do after graduation to increase their chances of finding a job? There is no magic formula that will work for everyone. In fact, until the economy fully rebounds to pre-recession levels (and that is still a long way off) minority candidates will have to continue working harder to find work. They will have to make looking for work their full-time occupation until they land something.

Here are a few tips for minority candidates looking for work in the healthcare sector:

  • Persistence – Minority candidates have to work hard to make sure they are not forgotten. So be persistent by putting in lots of applications, sending a lot of e-mails, making phone calls and, when possible, making personal visits to prospective employers. Be that squeaky wheel that gets the grease.
  • Professional Attitude – We cannot overemphasize the need for minority job candidates to be professional in everything they do. Presenting a professional attitude in the way you speak, dress, and carry yourself will instantly put you ahead of most other candidates.
  • Willingness to Work – Be willing to take an entry-level position and work your way up. In fact, nothing says you are a reliable and dependable worker better than working your way from the bottom up. And remember this: having to take an entry-level position to start with does not mean you have failed. It means we are willing to do whatever it takes to eventually reach our career goals.

Minority candidates still have a tough time finding work after graduation. Although that has been frustrating to so many minority job seekers, candidates should not give up. Anything worth having is worth working for – including the kind of career you see as fulfilling and rewarding. Keep searching and applying. Eventually, you will get the job you are working so hard to find.


  • Seattle Times –

Diversity in Nursing Can Lead to Better Care

The last 12 months have been very busy for nursing advocates working to expand the number of states with broader practice guidelines. They have also been leading the charge to get more nurses into leadership positions at facilities of all sizes. With 2016 now here, those leading the nursing industry hope to make serious inroads into another important issue: diversity in nursing.

Nursing may very well be the most important healthcare profession requiring direct contact with patients. Most people in need of medical care will interact with a nurse or nursing team more often than any other kind of worker. It makes sense that a diverse workforce that mimics the makeup of society as a whole would be very beneficial in terms of providing better care.


Over the last few years, there have been numerous studies detailing the need for more diversity among doctors. The data clearly shows that patients are more comfortable dealing with a doctor of similar ethnicity or cultural background and, in some cases, one of the same sex. The same should be true of nursing. If diversity among doctors can lead to better care, diversity among nursing staff can make that care even better.

Better Communication and Understanding

The most important tool a nurse has at his or her disposal is the ability to communicate. Nurses must communicate their knowledge of medical procedures in such a way that patients have confidence in what they are doing. They must also convey a sense of empathy and compassion as well. When patients know their nurses truly care about them, they tend to respond better to treatment.

Diversity in nursing can help communication by giving patients access to nurses with whom they can better relate. For example, an Asian nurse would better understand the cultural work ethic that leads many members of the Asian population to continue pushing themselves, even when they require rest to recover from an illness or injury. Having that understanding makes it easier for the nurse to communicate effectively with the patient.

The nursing industry has made real progress over the years in the area of diversity. Yet still more needs to be done, particularly in three areas:

  •  Ethnic Minorities – The vast majority of skilled nurses in the U.S. are white females from middle-class backgrounds. They provide excellent care around-the-clock. However, encouraging more ethnic minorities to go into nursing could improve the quality of care that minority patients receive.
  • Male Nurses – More men are pursuing nursing degrees than ever before. Nonetheless, males are still severely underrepresented in the profession. Recruiting more males into nursing should be a primary objective for the coming year.
  • Foreign Nurses – The question of whether or not to bring foreign nurses into the U.S. has long been unsettled. But with the nursing shortage as severe as it is, foreign nurses may be the only thing that can sustain our medical system until we increase the ranks of new students graduating from nursing school.

The whole point of diversity in the workplace is to make the best use of different ideas and cultures. It is to understand that people of different backgrounds have a lot to offer for the benefit of everyone involved. This is certainly true in the nursing profession. The more diversity we can bring to the profession, the more it will grow, expand, and meet the needs of all patients.

Nursing advocates were plenty busy during 2015 advancing the cause of their profession. The next 12 months look to be equally busy, as increased diversity becomes part a greater part of the advocacy mission.

Communities Embracing Pipeline Model for Healthcare Diversity

In the ongoing effort to increase diversity in healthcare hiring, the industry is having to turn its attention to younger people who still have not decided on a career direction during the early years of high school. By creating outreach opportunities with these young people, it is hoped that more can be convinced of the potential opportunities that await them in healthcare. One tool for accelerating such outreach is the pipeline model, a model that is gaining strength across America.

The pipeline model is simple: establish programs that identify potential healthcare candidates as early as possible in high school, then provide a tailored academic program to those students that include counseling, healthcare-related field trips, hands-on opportunities, shadowing opportunities, and an academic program with an emphasis on math and the sciences. Finally, pair those high school programs with local community colleges and universities willing to offer college credit classes.

When the pipeline model is successful, high school graduates finish their senior years with college credits already under their belts that put them on a fast track to earning their bachelor’s degree before going on to advanced degree programs in their chosen healthcare fields. The pipeline model has been successful in other industries in the past; now it’s being put to use for healthcare hiring.

A Diversity Pipeline in Massachusetts

One of the latest examples of a pipeline program to encourage healthcare diversity can be found in Massachusetts. Mount Wachusett Community College, located in Gardner, is partnering with three local high schools to offer a dual enrollment program for two different sets of students, one that entered the ninth grade this year and the other that will do so next year. The program is being made possible through a $2.25 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The 120 minority students in this year’s program will be taking normal high school courses as well as additional courses at the community college. By the end of their second college semester, the students will have earned 15 credits that will enable them to obtain a healthcare certificate for an entry-level field in just two years or an associate’s degree within three. Those who choose to can go on to advanced degree programs years ahead of other students who took the more traditional route.

Pipeline Philosophy Not New

The pipeline model for encouraging healthcare diversity may be relatively new, but the philosophy behind it is not. What we call a pipeline is really nothing more than a different way of administering an apprenticeship program on a large scale. Rather than sending kids off to university hoping that they will eventually find themselves and figure out what they want to do, the pipeline philosophy seeks to help kids make that decision as early as possible so that the time they do spend in school is focused entirely on helping them establish their careers.

This kind of model is especially important to minority candidates who may feel as though their choices are limited. That is truly not the case, but minorities may not understand how many opportunities actually exist until they are exposed to them. The pipeline model encourages that exposure.

The program now underway in North Central Massachusetts is just one of many such programs getting started across the country. If they prove successful, and there is no reason to believe they will not, we will begin seeing a new wave of minority candidates seeking jobs in the healthcare sector over the next 5 to 10 years. The pipeline model is one that works – and works well.


  • Worcester Business Journal –

Survey Reveals Different Views of Diversity in Healthcare Management

Is the healthcare industry succeeding in its goals to make management more diverse? That depends on who you ask. A new survey from Witt/Keiffer shows a significant difference of opinion between white males and the various minority groups surveyed as part of the report. According to the overall numbers, the majority of healthcare executives believe the healthcare industry has done a good job in closing the gap over the last nine years.

The differences of opinion become evident when survey responses are considered by sex and ethnicity. For example, 57% of Caucasian respondents believe the industry is closing the diversity gap in health care management. But:

  • only 26% of ethnic minority respondents agree;
  • only 48% of male respondents agree; and
  • only 32% of female respondents agree.

Unsurprisingly, approximately 20% of the total respondents said that healthcare management is not as diverse as it should be. Women and ethnic minorities interviewed as part of the research generally agreed that improvement has been made.

So, what do all of these numbers tell us?

The most striking conclusion is that sex and ethnicity create lenses through which all people view the world. It stands to reason that those who are in the majority of any group will view diversity differently from those found in the minority. It is not at all surprising that white males see more progress in healthcare management diversity because any growth in diversity, no matter how slight, is more apparent to them.

The other important conclusion we can draw is that the healthcare sector recognizes the need for diversity in management. Whether or not progress is being made fast enough remains a matter of debate that will likely not end anytime soon. But the industry is working toward achieving very real and measurable diversity goals.

More Open Management Positions

Proponents of diversity can take some comfort in the fact that the transformation of the healthcare system induced by the implementation of healthcare reform should create a much better environment for diversity in management. As reforms introduced by the Affordable Care Act are fully implemented, there will undoubtedly be more room for more executives to handle the expanding healthcare sector. And where more executives are needed, minorities have greater opportunities to get those jobs.

A good place to start would be that of recruiting young people to undertake degree programs specializing in healthcare management. Though the field of study is still fairly new, it is growing fairly rapidly in response to the industry wanting specially trained individuals with expertise in the field.

Changing The Way We Do Things

For generations, the healthcare industry has functioned by either promoting older clinicians to executive management positions or looking for successful business executives outside of healthcare. That old model is no longer sustainable in the era of healthcare reform. It is now becoming apparent that hospitals, healthcare clinics, and other organizations need executives who are trained in healthcare management. Universities are responding by creating degree programs.

In the end, increasing diversity in healthcare management could be a matter of taking to the streets to recruit younger minorities who might be interested in healthcare but do not want a job directly related to patient care. There are some very bright young people who would make prime candidates for a university degree program before going on to be very successful healthcare executives. We should concentrate on them with as much passion and fervor as we currently appropriate to recruiting doctors and nurses. Without competent healthcare executives down the road, the success of healthcare reform remains in jeopardy.


  1. Witt/Keiffer –
  2. Fierce Healthcare –