Improving workforce and leadership diversity is a key priority for many healthcare organizations, particularly at the executive levels.
Diverse leaders bring a unique understanding of cultural differences that impact health, values and beliefs in addition to the experience of race in America. Diversity and equity became major focal points for many organizations in the aftermath of the racial justice protests of 2020.
Heavy hitters in the industry are doubling down on efforts to hire, train and promote diverse talent. In May, Cleveland Clinic, MetroHealth and University Hospitals joined 14 U.S. health systems to sign the “Impact Workforce Commitment” to increase workforce diversity. Last year, Northwell Health, Intermountain and other health systems formed an alliance sharing best practices and other data around improving workforce diversity, well-being and engagement.
Sanofi launched a NextGen Scholarship program, a global initiative aimed at getting more people from underrepresented communities into the healthcare profession.
Big names in healthcare and pharma industries also are stepping up investments in Black-founded and -led healthcare startups. HCA Healthcare, Eli Lilly and the American Hospital Association, among others, are backing Jumpstart Health Investors to fund Black founder-led healthcare companies across health IT, digital health, tech-enabled services, diagnostic devices and biotech.
Increasing diversity within the healthcare workforce can have a significant impact for patients as well.
There is a growing body of research that shows patients have better health outcomes when their doctors come from similar backgrounds and cultures. As one example, a Stanford study found that Black men are almost 20% more likely to take preventive health measures recommended by Black physicians compared to white physicians. Leading medical groups, such as the National Academy of Medicine, have similarly concluded that increasing racial and ethnic diversity among physicians would markedly improve care, access and life expectancy for minority populations.
The nation's medical schools are reporting that more Black and Hispanic students, and women, are attending medical school than ever before, according to data from the Association of American Medical Colleges. The number of Black or African American matriculants grew by 9% for this academic year.
But much more work needs to be done. A survey from the American Hospital Association found low turnover and slow diversity gains among the boards of America's hospitals in the past four years.
On the front lines of care, clinicians continue to face racism and discrimination on the job. In a recent survey, 79% of nurses said they had seen or experienced racism and discrimination from patients while 59% said the same regarding their colleagues. The survey also highlighted that while nurses report their organizations are prioritizing diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, more education and training are necessary.
While the industry continues to grapple with a lack of racial and gender diversity at its highest levels of leadership, we aim to shine a spotlight on some of the critical contributions made by people of color across health systems, physicians' offices, health tech and insurance.
This month and through July, we are putting out the call for nominations to honor 10 leaders across the healthcare industry—from physicians to CEOs to researchers to tech company execs—who are shaping the way healthcare of the future will be delivered.
What are we looking for?
We are seeking leaders who have made a measurable impact on healthcare in the past 12 months and have a demonstrated track record in paving the way forward for everyone. We are looking for examples of innovation, passion and ingenuity that we'll be able to share with leaders across the industry. We will accept nominations for this program from all sectors across healthcare who are part of underrepresented communities including American Indian, Native Alaskan, Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, Asian, African American, Hispanic or Latino.
This is where you come in.
If you know of a minority leader in healthcare you believe is deserving of this honor, fill out the form as best you can below. Nominations are part of our process of assessing who will win the distinction of being one of our Most Influential Minority Executives in Healthcare, and nominees will be judged on professional accomplishments, community leadership and philanthropy as well as awards and milestones.
Forms must be sent in by July 28. Winners will be announced Sept. 11.
Thank you for your help in identifying these leaders.
— Heather Landi, Senior Editor of Fierce Healthcare