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Bias: You Don’t Have to See It to Believe It


Kellye Whitney -  2/23/12
reprint from Diversity Executive

maskJust because you don’t see unconscious bias doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist and that the unseen isn’t having a tangible impact on actual people.

Iowa is dealing with one of the largest class-action lawsuits of its kind against the entire state government’s civil service system. Some 6,000 African-American plaintiffs are saying since 2003 they were systemically passed over for jobs and promotions.

“The plaintiffs … do not say they faced overt racism or discriminatory hiring tests in Iowa, a state that is 91 percent white. Instead, their lawyers argue that managers subconsciously favored whites across state government, leaving blacks at a disadvantage in decisions over who got interviewed, hired and promoted,” an article about the case said.

This is particularly interesting because apparently similar cases against local governments have failed — it’s tough to explicate and prove disparities in mistreatment of this type. But science may be the answer — or at least offer some measure of proof.

The article said that University of Washington psychology professor Anthony Greenwald, an expert on implicit bias who testified on the plaintiffs’ behalf, developed an Implicit Association Test to test racial stereotypes. The resulting research found a preference for whites over blacks in up to 80 percent of test takers among people who did not consider themselves to be racist.

This kind of research makes me want to hop up and down pointing and yelling, ‘See! Told ya.’ This is why I talk the subject of unconscious bias darn near to death. Just because you don’t see it — or don’t want to acknowledge it exists — doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist and that the unseen isn’t having a tangible impact on actual people.
“Attorney Thomas Newkirk said the science and other evidence that shows disadvantaged groups such as blacks face employment discrimination in subtle ways ‘is becoming overwhelming,’” the article said.

Lawyers are asking for lost wages to the tune of $67 million minus what plaintiffs earned in the meantime, and that changes be made in the way state officials train managers, screen candidates and track disparities in hiring. We’ll see how it plays out.


We are interested in what you think? Do you believe Bias can be a subconscious thing? Let us know what you think of this article and the lawsuit that is its subject. Do you agree? Disagree?

Healthcare's Jobs Boom

Baby boomers are turning 65, and they will need lots of help
By Ilan Kolet and Shobhana Chandra
econ jobs06  01  600
While the economy lost 7.5 million positions during the 18-month recession, the health-care industry added doctors, nurses, and other hospital personnel. Together with the social assistance category, which includes day-care workers, career counselors, and similar positions, the sector will add more than 5.6 million employees and be the biggest job gainer by 2020, according to new projections by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Manufacturing is forecast to lose 73,000 jobs by then.

“The first baby boomer just turned 65 last year, so when it comes to health-care jobs, we haven’t seen nothing yet,” says Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ in New York. Almost 87 million Americans, or one in four, will be 65 or older by 2050, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Health services require face time with patients, which means “these jobs are protected from the forces of globalization,” says Rupkey. “We can’t imagine a time when we’ll be able to outsource the job of a home health aide giving a senior a bath or helping with physical therapy.”

Openings in health care are broadly distributed geographically, even in economically distressed small towns where they often are “all that’s left,” says David Card, a director of the Labor Studies Program at the National Bureau of Economic Research. They also provide “pretty good” opportunities, particularly for women, he says. During the recession, health care added almost half a million positions, while construction, which typically employs more men, shed 1.1 million workers.

Sharon Rudolph, 64, is studying to be a registered nurse alongside classmates who had previously worked in real estate and banking, as well as one who owns a nail salon. The Fort Lauderdale resident was a radiologic technologist before she took a break in the 1990s to raise her family. Now she’s in a 27-month training program at the city’s Nova Southeastern University. “I felt I’d become more marketable once I get out,” says Rudolph, who has managed to keep her other licenses in diagnostic medical and cardiac sonography current. “I have to work twice as hard as some of the kids” to keep up with the coursework.

Registered nursing, which requires at least an associate degree, will have the largest growth of all U.S. occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, adding 711,900 jobs between 2010 and 2020, reaching a total of 3.4 million. The number of home health aides, who don’t need a high school diploma but require on-the-job training, will increase by 69 percent, to 1.7 million. Hiring of physicians and surgeons will rise by 24 percent, to 859,300, the bureau predicts.

While the additional jobs probably will lift employment, many pay low wages. That means these workers will be less able than employees in higher-paid industries to boost consumer spending. Yet health-care jobs may provide more stability than factory and construction work, which tends to fluctuate with the economy. According to BLS data that are seasonally unadjusted, the unemployment rate for health-services employees was 6 percent in December, compared with 16 percent for construction.

According to Charles Roehrig, director of the Altarum Center for Sustainable Health in Ann Arbor, Mich., every 10 jobs in health care ultimately generate an additional 12 elsewhere in the economy. If he’s right, then without the industry’s recent hiring growth, the unemployment rate would have been 9.5 percent in December, instead of 8.5 percent.

Nursing Students Go High Tech


Student at the UCLA School of Nursing start their nursing career with a high tech boost. As part of their ceremony to receive their white coats, this year they were also give iPod Touch devices preloaded with Medication and Diagnosis guides as well as a Spanish language dictionary and translation assistance. UCLA is determined to offer new grad nurses that are ready for "High Touch" care but within a "High Tech" environment.

 Nursing Reimagined. Nursing Redefined.

Aging America creates demand for health-care workers


This is a subject matter we are always talking about. You hear the labor projections, but in a way it is a grim and sobering reminder that the healthcare labor force is in for some major gwoing pains. Are you experiencing this in your workplace? What do you think?


(from - The graying of America and a booming Hispanic population is driving major changes in the structure of the U.S. workforce and the types of jobs that will be available over the next decade, a new government report shows.

Health care and social assistance jobs will be the fastest-growing sectors, accounting for one quarter of the 20.2 million new jobs the economy is expected to generate by 2020.
healthimages resized 600
Retiring baby boomers will help open up an additional 33.8 million positions for total vacancies of 54 million, the Labor Department said on Wednesday in its biannual Employment Outlook report for job growth between 2010 and 2020.

During the recent recession, employment declined by 7.8 million jobs to a total of 129.8 million in 2010. The report does not estimate by what year those jobs will be replaced.

In addition, the workforce is getting older. Despite the retirement surge, a slowdown in population growth means that the post-World War II baby boomers will make up a quarter of all U.S. workers by 2020, up from 19.5 percent today.

Hispanics, meanwhile, are joining the workforce at a fast pace. They will represent 18.6 percent of overall employment by decade's end, up from 14.8 percent today. In contrast, Asians and African-Americans will see their share in the labor force rise by 1 percentage point or less to 5.7 percent and 12 percent, respectively.

"The labor force is projected to get older, become racially and ethnically more diverse and show a small increase in women as a share of the total," the department said.

Professional and business services will be the second-fastest growing industry, adding 3.8 million positions.

It will be followed by construction, although the 1.8 million new construction jobs will not bring employment in the industry back to levels seen during the housing boom.


The report also spelled out the skills workers of the future will need.

Two thirds of the total job openings will require only a high-school education or less, it said. For example, there will be roughly 70 percent growth in personal care aides and health-care support employment, the fastest-growing occupations. No high school diploma would be required, and workers would get short, on-the-job training.

At the same time, demand for people with master's degrees will increase by 21.7 percent, the Labor Department said.

The manufacturing sector and the federal government will both lose jobs over the next decade.

Discover America′s Black History


BHM 2012 resized 600

Want to Learn More?

  • Civil Rights Memorial Center Located in historic Montgomery, Ala., across the street from Southern Poverty Law Center, the center offers images of iconic civil-rights leaders, a 56-seat theater and the Wall of Tolerance, where visitors pledge to take a stand against hate by entering their names on an interactive wall.
  • DuSable Museum of African American History This Chicago museum has been dedicated to the collection, preservation, interpretation and dissemination of the history and culture of Africans and Black Americans for more than 46 years.
  • Hampton University Museum & Archives Located on the grounds of Hampton University campus, the museum, which was founded in 1868, is one of the oldest in Virginia. It features more than 9,000 objects, including African American fine arts, traditional African, Native American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Island, and Asian art.
  • Idaho Black History Museum Housed in St. Paul Baptist Church in Boise, one of the oldest buildings constructed by Idaho Blacks, the museum presents exhibits and educational outreach, including workshops, literacy programs and music.
  • International Civil Rights Center & Museum This newly opened exhibit and teaching facility, located in the historic F.W. Woolworth building in Greensboro, N.C., where four N.C. A&T freshmen set off a nonviolent sit-in 50 years ago, is a recreation of what the segregated South was like during the civil-rights movement. 
  • Museum of African American History in Boston Based in an African Meeting House, the oldest U.S. church built by free Blacks in 1806 has recently been restored, thanks largely to sponsorship from Walmart Foundation. It features stories of Blacks from 1638 through the Civil War.
  • NAACP Interactive Historical Timeline Funded through a $500,000 grant from the Verizon Foundation, this newly launched online learning tool from the NAACP offers major milestones in Black history, biographies of legendary leaders in Black history and other educational resources. Verizon Communications is No. 22 in the 2011 DiversityInc Top 50.
  • Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture Although the museum is currently being built on the National Mall in the District of Columbia, not far from what were once slave markets called “Robey’s Den,” a gallery can be found on the second floor of the National Museum of American History. And thanks to a $1-million grant of technology and expertise from IBM (No. 7), you can take a virtual tour at


  1. DiversityInc CEO Luke Visconti and National Civil Rights Museum President Beverly Robertson
  2. Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
  3. African American History Museum in Boston
  4. Smithsonian National Museum of African American History series
  5. National Underground Railroad Freedom Center


Beth Israel nurse creates free app ‘Nurse Net’


Nurse Robert Freeman's free app helps nurses decode thousands of medical abbreviations they see on charts

Published: Monday, January 30, 2012
by Clem Richardson

When Apple accepted his app in November, Robert “Robbie” Freeman said he would have been happy if 1,000 people downloaded it in the first year.

A little over 60 days later, more than 12,000 people have downloaded Freeman’s “Nurse Net” app, and the 26-year-old registered nurse could not be happier - even though he has not made a dime on the deal, since he demanded the app be free.

“People all over the world are downloading it,” Freeman said. “They’ve really embraced it. I really wanted it to be something everyone can use.”

freeman resized 600Freeman is a registered nurse and staff nurse at Beth Israel Hospital. Last year he won both the 2011 Novice Nurse of the Year from his employer, Beth Israel Medical Center, and the Novice Nurse of the Year, Nurse of Distinction award from 1199/Service Employees International Union.

He used the money from the award to come up with his app after realizing the need.

“I was speaking to my nurse colleagues about the things we would love to see in an app, tools that would help us deliver care and help us practice our profession,” Freeman said. “My generation, the millennial generation, really have embraced apps, but there are not a lot of them out there for nurses, even though nurses make up the largest group of health professionals in the country.”

Nurse Net’s tools include a News Reader, which gathers medical news from the top nursing websites and media outlets.

“Health care is always changing and the standards of care are always evolving,” Freeman said. “It’s important to stay up to date. With the reader you can keep up with the latest medical news.”

The Abbreviation Assistant decodes more than 10,000 medical abbreviations nurses are liable to encounter on medical charts, like HLD, which stands for Hyperlipidemia, high levels of fat in the blood.

“The idea came to me one day when a colleague said she saw this abbreviation on a chart and didn’t know what it meant,” Freeman said. “Health care has a culture of abbreviating everything, so sometimes it’s hard to keep up.

“This can help with patient safety, because if you are unsure of an abbreviation it could compromise treatment plans,” he said.

The Credentialer does the same as the abbreviation assistant, only for degrees or credentials health professionals list after their names.

“We have a lot of certifications and specialities in medicine, and with each degree, exam and organization comes another set of initials,” Freeman said. “Sometimes there are all sorts of initials after a name and it’s not always apparent what they mean. You put the abbreviation in the app and it tells you what it means.”


A graduate of both the University of Albany and Phillips Beth Israel School of Nursing, Freeman works on the Chris and Morton P. Hyman Patient Care Unit at Beth Israel.

He turned to friend Daniel Delphin, founder of DS410 a New York City based Mobile Application Company, for the technical work on his app, but did most of the research himself over a three-month period.

A former Long Island Athlete of the Year (2003) for his long distance running, Freeman is committed to helping others: after completing nursing school he spent three weeks with an American medical team doing free work in rural Kenya, East Africa.

The Nurse Net app, he said, is just more of the same.

“I have no interest in making a profit here,” Freeman said. “The nursing community as a whole has given me so much. I felt very strongly I wanted this to be a free app. People in nursing school will benefit from it the most, and they are already saddled with fees. I didn’t want this to be another fee they had to pay.

“To be able to allow nurses to go to work and improve the safety of the care they give their patients while letting them be more efficient and productive, how can I not give that for free?”

The Nursing Net app is available at the Apple Store.

Read more:

A Nurse Need Never Forget


New York Times (reprint)

THESE days, when a nursing student at the University of Iowa fields a question about a drug, “the answer is often, ‘I don’t know, but give me a few seconds,’ and she pulls out her phone,” according to Joann Eland, an associate professor there.

In just a few years, technology has revolutionized what it means to go to nursing school, in ways more basic — and less obvious to the patient — than learning how to use the latest medical equipment. Nursing schools use increasingly sophisticated mannequins to provide realistic but risk-free experience; in the online world Second Life, students’ avatars visit digital clinics to assess digital patients. But the most profound recent change is a move away from the profession’s dependence on committing vast amounts of information to memory. It is not that nurses need to know less, educators say, but that the amount of essential data has exploded.

“There are too many drugs now, too many interactions, too many tests, to memorize everything you would need to memorize,” says Ms. Eland, a specialist in uses of technology. “We can’t rely nearly as much as we used to on the staff knowing the right dose or the right timing.”

Five years ago, most American hospital wards still did not have electronic patient records, or Internet connections. Now, many provide that access with computers not just at a central nurse’s station but also at the patient’s bedside. The latest transition is to smartphones and tablet computers, which have become mandatory at some nursing schools.

“We have a certain set of apps that we want nursing students to have on their handheld devices — a book of lab tests, a database of drugs, even nursing textbooks,” says Helen R. Connors, executive director of the Kansas University Center for Health Informatics. Visiting alumni, she says, are shocked to see students not carrying physical textbooks to class.

But technology carries risks as well. So much data is available that students can get overwhelmed, and educators say that a growing part of their work is teaching how to retrieve information quickly and separate what is credible, relevant and up-to-date from what is not. (Hint: look for the seal of approval of Health on the Net.)

They also worry that students rely too much on digital tools at the expense of patient interaction and learning.“There’s a danger that having that technology at the point of care at the bedside creates a misperception that students don’t need to know their stuff,” says Jennifer Elison, chairwoman of the nursing department at Carroll College in Helena, Mont.

“I get worried when I hear about nursing programs that want to replace the person-to-person clinical experience with increased hours with simulation,” she says. “We hear sometimes that it feels to patients that the computers are more important than they are.”

Then there’s the patient privacy issue in the era of blogging, Facebook and Twitter. How to properly use social media has become standard in the curriculum, thanks in part to what is known in nursing circles as “the placenta incident.” Four nursing students at a community college in Kansas posted Facebook photos of themselves with a human placenta. The students were expelled in 2010, and later reinstated, but the episode showed how murky the boundaries of privacy and professionalism can be. The National Council of State Boards of Nursing recently published guidelines on social media.

“That is the new hot issue now,” Ms. Elison says. “That’s been hard, because this is a generation that immediately hits that send button.”

Disability Etiquette Tips – Meeting a Person with a Disability


by Claire Theriot Mestepey

Whether you are interviewing a person with a disability for a job or meeting them for the first time at a party, here are some simple tips that will put you both at ease. It’s so important to remember that no matter what the disability is, whether blindness, deafness or wheelchair-users, they are people. Once you overcome preconceived notions about their outer appearance, it will pave the way to better communications, understanding, and acceptance.

  1. When you first meet, always offer to shake hands. Most of us will offer the most controlled limb; it might even be a foot. For instance, because of my cerebral palsy, my left arm’s natural state is folded up, hand sitting on my shoulder. So if I had to extend my left arm to shake yours, it would take 13 minutes. But I can shake your right hand with little or no effort. Let the person with the disability take the lead, but do offer a friendly handshake. I think the first handshake sets the tone of how open one will be in the relationship. In other words, opened hand, opened heart.

  2. Often people want to speak louder when they are addressing me. I am not deaf, but even if I was, how would shouting help us communicate better? Always try to talk in a normal tone. I do believe that disability etiquette is a two-way street and if the person with the disability would like you to speak louder they should just ask.

  3. Most people are good Samaritans at heart; they like to help. As a woman with cerebral palsy I appreciate immensely when people offer assistance. Sometimes I accept with a nod and a thank you. Other times I don’t want help. I’m extremely independent and if I know the task is doable, however difficult it may seem, I like accomplishing it. On rare occasions overzealous Samaritans try to help, despite my pleas not to. I know people are just trying to help, but it borders on being disrespectful and can sometimes put the person with a disability on defense.

These are just three common disability etiquette tips. Upon reflection, these suggestions works for anyone, disabled or not. Many people want to learn disability etiquette, which is quite admirable. Taking the time to know someone, though, is more important than any etiquette training. Moving beyond stereotypes and learning each person’s limitations (because we all have them) and abilities are essential to understanding what an individual can offer your organization.



Have you ever felt unsure of what to do meeting someone with disabilities? How did you handle the situation?


Have you ever tried any of Ms. Mestepey's suggestions? Did it help? Do you have additional behaviors you find helpful?

Diversity in Health Care Leadership


Majority of healthcare professionals say diversity in hospital leadership improves patient satisfaction, according to Witt/Kieffer survey

( - Oak Brook, IL, January 24, 2012 – Less than 15 percent of healthcare professionals believe that hospitals have closed the diversity gap in leadership within the last five years, according to a new national report by Witt/Kieffer, the nation’s leading executive search firm specializing in healthcare and higher education. The report, Diversity As A Business Builder In Healthcare, also reveals that only 35 percent of professionals agree that healthcare organizations consistently hire minority candidates. Witt/Kieffer partnered with Institute for Diversity in Health Management, Asian Health Care Leaders Association, National Association of Health Services Executives and the National Forum for Latino Healthcare Executives to survey 470 experienced professionals on how the state of healthcare diversity leadership is evolving.

With minorities accounting for 98 percent of the population growth in the nation’s largest metropolitan areas during the last decade, this demographic shift has vast implications for healthcare organizations, especially as they adapt to healthcare reform. A majority of industry leaders surveyed feel that diversity in the workplace improves patient satisfaction and clinical outcomes and supports successful decision-making. While healthcare professionals also report that the pool of diverse candidates for leadership positions has grown over the last five years, minority representation is still weak, with perceived barriers to advancement differing based on the respondent’s race and ethnicity.

“It is remarkable that even though a majority of professionals see the value of different cultures in the workplace, there is still not enough happening to close the leadership gap,” said James Gauss, senior vice president and senior advisor to Witt/Kieffer’s CEO. “Healthcare professionals appear to agree on what steps are necessary in order to improve the success of minorities, but there is a falloff when it comes to results. If institutions build and implement an effective diversity strategy, it will benefit their business and their patients, who must come first at healthcare organizations.”

Key findings also include:

  • Twenty-four percent of Caucasian professionals believe the diversity gap has been closed, but only 11 percent of minority professionals agree.

  • Nearly half of CEOs feel their organization has been effective in closing the diversity gap.

  • More than half say the pool of diverse candidates for healthcare leadership positions has grown over the last five years. However, only 38 percent say it has grown in their own organizations.

  • Healthcare professionals are more positive about how well minorities are represented within their own organizations compared to the industry as a whole.

  • Nearly a quarter surveyed feel that their own management teams had a good representation of cultural diversity, but only 9 percent felt that way about representation across the entire industry.

  • However, more than 40 percent of CEOs feel management teams had a good representation of cultural diversity.

  • A sharp contrast exists between what Caucasian professionals feel needs to happen in order to achieve diversity in the workplace and what minority professionals see as the barriers to success.

  • Caucasian professionals zero in on a lack of diverse candidates, while minority leaders focus on upper management’s lack of commitment to diversity.

  • 60 percent of Caucasian leaders see their organizations’ cultural diversity programs as effective, while only 33 percent of minority professionals agree.

  • There is a gap between hospitals’ efforts to recruit diverse candidates and how many minorities are actually hired and how well they are trained.

  • Fifty-one percent of healthcare professionals agree that organizations take diversity recruiting seriously, but only 38 percent feel that their institutions trained for success in diversity recruiting efforts.

While the survey shows varying viewpoints across race, generation and career title, it is clear that diversity is seen as a valuable business asset, leading to improved patient satisfaction, improved clinical outcomes and more successful decision-making.

Witt/Kieffer is the nation’s eighth largest executive search firm and the only national firm that specializes in healthcare, higher education and not-for-profit organizations. Founded in 1969, our mission is to identify outstanding leadership solutions for organizations committed to improving the quality of life. Clients include hospitals, health systems, academic medical centers, medical schools, physician groups, colleges, universities and community service and cultural organizations. The firm conducts 400 search assignments each year for presidents, CEOs, COOs, CFOs, CIOs, physician executives, medical school deans, clinical chairs and other senior executives. Visit for more information.


What do you think? How is your organization compared to the industry? What can organizations do to improve diversity in hiring? For students, what do you think of the diversity the student body? How do you think this relates to hiring and ability to rise in organizations?

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