|By Kriss Anne Carlstrom, JD, CHC, MSM, FACHE|
Diversity is about more than just about equality, equal access, or affirmative action. Rather, diversity is about recognizing and accepting the eclectic community we live and work in. More importantly, it is about embracing the religious practices, ethnicity, national origin, sex, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, and disabilities of employees and patients we serve. As healthcare leaders, we have an ethical obligation to ensure the highest quality care is provided to our patients. In order to achieve this goal, providers within the organization should reflect the community it serves. Absent this representation, we will fail to recognize the needs required of our diverse patient population.
Finding a lack of diversity among senior healthcare leaders in 2003, a coalition was created between the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE), National Center for Healthcare Leadership (NCHL), Institute for Diversity in Health Management (IFD), and American Hospital Association (AHA) to develop Diversity and Cultural Proficiency Assessment Tool for Leaders. (1) The assessment tool consists of four sections that evaluates whether the workforce: 1) is as diverse as the community you serves; 2) provides culturally proficient patient care; 3) strengthens your workforce =diversity; and 4) expands diversity of your leadership team. ACHE recognizes that increasing diversity of the workforce is essential to providing culturally competent care. Thus, this tool will help you acknowledge and appreciate the cultural diversity within your organization.
Similarly, Greater Charlotte Healthcare Executives Group (GCHEG) embraces and promotes diversity that reflects ACHE’s commitment to diversity in recognizing its priority as both an ethical and business imperative. Succession planning by the Board incorporates diversity as a key factor when slating board positions. The Board reflects minority representation and healthcare organizations as within their chapter membership. Furthermore, strategic planning sessions emphasize the importance of diversity when discussing membership growth, committee participation, and event planning.
GCHEG actively demonstrates a commitment to and successful execution of significant diversity and inclusion efforts within our chapter, community, and the healthcare management field. For example, annual scholarships are provided to students in Masters of Healthcare Administration programs at University of North Carolina Charlotte and Pfeiffer University. Furthermore, GCHEG recently committed to provide a scholarship to Appalachian State University and is in discussion with Gardner-Webb University as well. Recipients serve on GCHEG’s Scholarship Committee and acts as a liaison between Charlotte Healthcare Executives Student Organization and our Membership Committee to engage students with the chapter.
GCHEG actively encourage and support members of diverse backgrounds, experiences, and communities to pursue leadership roles within the chapter, ACHE, and their respective organizations. This is evidenced by our mentor program led by Elise Guimont-Blackburn and Richard Langholz.
“The GCHEG Mentor Program feels a significant mission to drive diversity through the composition of the mentor and mentee cohort. During the 2015-2016 program, the cohort was made up of 32, comprised 17 different organizations throughout the region and was made up of 14 women and 18 men. This year we’ve grown to 42 and represent 15 different organizations. The diversity in experience, background, and thought we believe fosters continuous growth and development for future leaders,” stated Elise Guimont-Blackburn, MBA, MHA, RN-BSN.
Similar to Massachusetts General Hospital (see case study attached to assessment tool above), our mentor program aims to widen the pool of viable talent competing for senior leadership positions that historically were closed to many because of the lack of awareness of career opportunities, educational and institutional resources, and incumbent leadership guidance. “The GCHEG Mentor Program includes 14 of our 21 mentors having 20+ years of healthcare experience. This extensive and diverse experience provides the mentees both greater awareness of industry change and wisdom to focus their development on the leadership competencies these executives feel are necessary for future success as a leader in healthcare,” says Guimont-Blackburn.
In conclusion, GCHEG values the diversity within their chapter and strives to foster an environment of inclusion that furthers ACHE’s commitment in recognizing contributions and supports the advancement of all, regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, religion, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.
CHAPTER DIVERSITY BY THE NUMBERS:
• Did you know that GCHEG represents thirty-five (35) counties in Western North Carolina from Cherokee to Alleghany, to Anson? According to the US Census Bureau, total population of these counties is approximately 3,258,004. (2) This represents 34.17% of North Carolina’s population. (3)
• Across the state, it is estimated that 13.9% of North Carolinians have a disability that include difficulties with either: 1) hearing; 2) vision; 3) cognitive function; 4) ambulatory; and 5) independent living. Moreover, 7% are under 5 years of age; 14.8% are between ages 35 to 64 years; 27.3% are between ages 64 to 74 years; and 50.9% are 75 years and over. (4) Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported in 2011 that North Carolina ranked 8th across the United States in number of HIV diagnoses. (5)
• A study in 2014 performed by Pew Research Center found 77% of adults in North Carolina are of Christian faith, 3% are of non christian faith, and 20% are unaffiliated. (6)
• North Carolina has 116,211,092 households. 48.4% are married couples. (7) 23.13% are same-sex households with 36% reporting same-sex spouses. (8)
• 7.6% of North Carolina residents are foreign born. Approximately 8% of foreign born residents entered North Carolina since 2010. (7)
• Out of the 250,000 LGBT adults in North Carolina, 56% are White, 29% are African American, and 11% are Latino. (9)
1. Available at http://www.aha.org/content/00-10/diversitytool.pdf.
2. Found at http://www.census.gov/2010census/popmap/. Note: estimated 2015 total population of NC is 10,042,802. GCHEG chapter includes the following counties: Alexander, Alleghany, Anson, Ashe, Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Cabarrus, Caldwell, Catawba, Clay, Cleveland, Gaston, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Iredell, Jackson LIncoln, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mecklenburg, Mitchell, Montgomery, Polk, Rutherford, Stanly, Swain, Transylvania, Union, Watauga, Wilkes, and Yancey.
3. Found at https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/community_facts.xhtml.
4. Found at https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_15_1YR_S1810&prodType=table. 2015 estimate based on 2010 census.
5. Found at http://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/stateprofiles/pdf/North_Carolina_profile.pdf
6. Christian faiths included: 35% Evangelical Protestant; 19% Mainline Protestant; 12% Historically Black Protestant; 9% Catholic; 1% each Mormon, Orthodox Christian, and Jehovah’s Witness. Non-Christian faiths included: 1% Jewish and <1% each Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, and other world religions. Found at http://www.pewforum.org/religious-landscape-study/state/north-carolina/.
7. Found at http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?src=bkmk.
8. Found at U.S. Census Bureau, 2014 American Community Survey. See www.census.gov/acs/www.
9. The Williams Institute, LGBT People in North Carolina. Found at http://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/North-Carolina-fact-sheet.pdf.