In an era of increased scrutiny of disparities in healthcare, both in outcomes and leadership, many providers look for ways to make the industry more diverse.
For example, the American Hospital Association-affiliated Institute for Diversity in Health Management (IFD), in response to a June survey showing sluggish progress in reducing hiring disparities, developed a certificate program intended to improve diversity levels, according to Hospitals & Health Networks.
During the 12-month Certificate in Diversity Management in Health Care program, experienced diversity officers help participants draft and customize strategic diversity plans for their respective providers. This is the first such diversity certificate program specifically focused on and developed by experts within the healthcare sector. The program aims to improve diversity by promoting cultural competence within the workforce, ensuring leaders and managers are in touch and involved with the community, and pushing cost-cutting, performance-improving business strategies, according to the program's site.
"There needs to be an overt effort by leaders and the board to really get a sense of what is happening in the area of diversity and inclusion," faculty member Wayne Boatwright, systems vice president of cultural diversity at Neptune, New Jersey's Meridian Health, told H&HN. "And I think the diversity leader has to be challenged with a strategic plan that talks about how they can impact those areas … we can provide solutions in a space that maybe they were not that aware of before."
Increasing diversity among healthcare leaders can have positive results for healthcare outcome equality by making it easier for healthcare providers to engage the community and use evidence-based care to meet patient needs, FierceHealthcare previously reported. Diversity efforts are equally valuable within the health payer sector, especially with the recent increase in coverage among historically underinsured populations, including Latinos and low-income people, according to FierceHealthPayer.