Nominations for Fierce Healthcare's 2024 Most Influential Minority Executives in Healthcare

Improving workforce and leadership diversity is a key priority for many healthcare organizations, particularly at the executive level.

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.

At the same time, research demonstrates that a racially diverse medical workforce results in improved self-reported patient experiences, reception to medical recommendations, and reduced health care spending.

Studies also show that racial concordance can improve communication, trust, and adherence to medical advice

Heavy hitters in the industry are doubling down on efforts to hire, train and promote diverse talent while also combating healthcare disparities in their own communities. Forty U.S. health systems in 45 states have committed to addressing racism and the public health disparities caused by racism. They signed on to the Healthcare Anchor Network, a health system-led collaboration working to improve community health and well-being by leveraging their assets, including hiring, purchasing and investment for equitable, local economic impact.

There are also local efforts on the ground in communities throughout the country to build a more diverse workforce in the healthcare industry. At Penn Medicine and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, there is the Alliance of Minority Physicians to support recruiting and training populations historically underrepresented in medicine (URiM).

As a result of these efforts, there has been a three-fold increase in the number of minority physicians training in Penn or CHOP residency or internship programs, according to the organization.

The nation's medical schools are reporting that more Black and Hispanic students, and women, are attending medical school than ever before. For the 2023-2024 academic year there was an increase in matriculants among two groups historically underrepresented in medicine: Hispanic, Latino, or of Spanish Origin and American Indian or Alaska Native, according to data from the Association of American Medical Colleges.

The number of American Indian or Alaska Native matriculants rose 14.7% and Hispanic, Latino, or of Spanish Origin matriculants increased 4.5% since 2022-23.  The number of Black or African American first-year students remained stable, falling slightly by 0.1%.

But much more work needs to be done. Diversity in healthcare boardrooms still falls short. The proportion of U.S. hospital and health system boards with at least one nonwhite board member increased from 53% in 2014 to 68% in 2022, according to an analysis by the nonprofit Black Directors Health Equity Agenda and EY Center for Health Equity. The average number of hospital board members who identified as part of a racial or ethnic minority group increased from 1.2 to 1.6 from 2011 to 2021, as reported by U.S. News and World Report.

There also continue to be racial and ethnic pay disparities for physicians. According to Medscape's 2024 physician compensation report, compensation for African American and Black physicians grew more than twice as fast as for any other racial or ethnic group. However, they are still the lowest compensated group, earning $37,000 on average less than white doctors, according to the report.

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.

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 influencing policy, operations and care delivery models across the country. This marks the fifth year we have published our annual special report.

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 submitted by June 7. Winners will be announced in a special report in July.

Thank you for your help in identifying these leaders. 

— Heather Landi, Executive Editor of Fierce Healthcare