The tragic events of the past year has brought an increased awareness to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). As a result, healthcare organizations are hiring Chief Diversity Officers (CDO’s), implementing initiatives, providing educational programs, and using new recruitment strategies to increase diversity in medicine.
Increasing diversity in healthcare organizations benefits both the healthcare provider and the patient populations they serve.
To increase diversity and lower racial healthcare disparities, many hospitals and health systems are looking to their CDO for guidance moving forward.
Last year, CDO hires grew by 84%, making it the fastest growing C-suite title, according to LinkedIn.
Some health systems are going beyond hiring a CDO and are creating entire teams or councils to implement and foster best practices.
Northwell Health formed the Emerging Leaders Diversity & Inclusion Council which is responsible for analyzing current conditions within the health system while seeking to implement best practices in 3 key areas:
• Succession Planning
Englewood Health assembled a Diversity and Inclusion Education Council consisting of 12 team members across all departments and leadership levels.
Warren Geller, President and CEO of Englewood Health said, “Our country’s history of racism and current inequalities have impacted every aspect of life and, most importantly, our health and well-being. With the establishment of a Diversity and Inclusion Education Council we are committing to doing more and doing better for the communities we serve.”
More hospitals are providing educational resources and training programs for their staff members.
At Ochsner Health in Louisiana, they’ve rolled out training to address implicit bias across the organization. Melissa Love, VP of Professional Staff Services and The Office of Professional Well-Being said, “People are really curious. I’m seeing people be very surprised by their lack of knowledge, even those that think they’re very knowledgeable.”
Hospitals are also participating in evaluation programs to help improve their DEI efforts.
The HRC Foundation's Healthcare Equality Index (HEI) evaluates healthcare facilities nationwide based on non-discrimination & staff training, LGBTQ patient services & support, employee benefits & policies, and LGBTQ patient & community engagement.
Last year, a record 765 healthcare facilities participated in the HEI survey. These organizations recognize the importance of implementing LGBTQ-inclusive practices alongside their foundational non-discrimination policies.
When it comes to diversifying the hiring process, Daniel Benavides, Manager of Talent Acquisition at CHG Healthcare, suggests hospitals increase the number of people who select candidates.
Benavides noticed only one or two people were filtering candidates for interviews. He determined that having a larger mix of individuals looking at applications would result in a greater diversity — and higher quality — of selected candidates.
It’s critical healthcare organizations improve diversity within their staff to reduce healthcare disparities. They must ensure ALL people are equally represented.