If 2020 reinforced anything, the healthcare space – much like many other aspects of society – faces racial disparities.
But how can these gaps be bridged? Of course, there are diversity and inclusion (D&I) initiatives. Hiring different people from various backgrounds, genders, and ethnicities is always a place to start.
While D&I hiring initiatives will give healthcare decision-makers the perspective to offset racial disparities, it’s not so cut and dry. You can’t simply wish for racial harmony and suddenly have a diverse workforce that reflects the equity and equality you’re trying to foster.
Instead, finding success in these D&I initiatives must begin from the top. Healthcare leadership must fully commit to creating an entire landscape without racial biases.
This blog will delve further into this issue and provide one potential solution to help find the necessary talent to give these initiatives momentum:
A D&I Blindspot in Healthcare Leadership
Here are a few stats that paint a clear picture of the leadership landscape in the healthcare industry (note that these numbers are from a 2015 survey):
- People of color represented only 19% of lower and mid-level hospital management positions.
- Only 11% of executive leadership positions were held by people of color.
- At the time of this survey, people of color represented 32% of patients in hospitals and were 37% of the population.
Think about how disproportionate those numbers are. It would be one thing if people of color represented 10% or 15% of the population.
Then the disparity could be purely a numbers game. But it’s not–this gap is a symptom of other problems rooted in blind spots, inequality, and unconscious biases.
Before moving onto the next section, it’s worth pondering over this lack of representation. Without the workforce (and, more importantly, leadership) proportionally representing the people you provide care to, there comes a lack of perspective and understanding.
Employing healthcare talent with different backgrounds provides expertise in all manner of patients.
For instance, culture impacts the way people respond to treatments and illnesses. You want people at all levels of your healthcare organization who fully grasp these traits. This way, you can provide the best care, no matter the patient’s cultural background.
How a Lack of Diversity in Leadership Hampers D&I
There’s no way around it; unconscious racial bias affects people with the best of intentions.
You might read the above section, be inspired to make more D&I hires to improve care, and still end up with a team of people who act and look the same.
This type of bias is ingrained in someone’s makeup. Without even noticing, you might just continue to hire some version of yourself.
For example, a group of white male executives might want to be more inclusive. But they all come from similar backgrounds and had similar experiences. Everyone’s conditioned to keep making the same decisions because they don’t have another voice giving them guidance.
This group of leaders might think they’re doing the right things but may still be contributing to the problem.
These leaders require someone with D&I expertise to guide them through a diversity-hiring process. This way, there will be a unique perspective that keeps these healthcare decision-makers checked and accountable to make impactful hires and commit 100% to initiatives.
Whereas without that sure-handed D&I expert at your side, it becomes much easier to say the right things but not actually do anything.
The Solution: Partnering with D&I Experts to Solve the Racial Disparities in Healthcare
By partnering with a D&I recruiter – such as HCRI – you’ll gain that critical outside perspective that opens your mind to what a diverse healthcare workforce looks like.
Moreover, you’ll want the best available talent who’ll make waves in your healthcare organization. HCRI has access to top-performing D&I candidates who will help carve your path to long standing success, diversity, and inclusion. Contact us today to find out more.