Posted by: AllinHIT
EHR, Health IT, Minority hiring
Ok, let me just state for the record, I am a seasoned, proven professional in HealthIT, and I happen to be an African-American. I have been in healthcare many years and have a plethora of caucasian friends in high level positions across the healthcare arena. I only know of a few minorities in these same caliber of positions, but I know very few minorities working in healthcare, and fewer in Health IT. These fore-mentioned facts are the basis of my interest in the continuing dialogue concerning minority hiring at hospitals.
It all started last summer when I read about the Connecticut Hospital Association and the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) battled over diversity reporting with their 30 hospitals (http://www.fiercehealthcare.com/story/hospital-association-and-naacp-embattled-over-diversity-reporting/2011-06-16was). Knowing that there was a lack of minorities represented at conferences (HIMSS, AHIMA, ATA, MGMA, etc) I’ve attended over the years, I wondered was it because of a lack of minorities in the field or was it that they weren’t just being hired. My experience as an African American professional, unfortunately, leaned me to thinking it was probably the latter! My suspicions were confirmed in January, 2012 after reading executive search firm Witt/Kieffer study titled “New Study: Hospitals have failed to close the diversity gap in healthcare leadership” (http://www.fiercehealthcare.com/press-releases/new-study-hospitals-have-failed-close-diversity-gap-healthcare-leadership). The title alone tells the story and if you have been reading my blog for the past couple years, you wouldn’t be surprised that I’m asking myself, what can I do about it?
Typically, a minority could address industry hiring inequities, if they are influential within that industry, sort of like solving the issue from within. Some firms, committed to diversity, will hire a “Diversity” championed with the mandate to increase minority hiring and to become a voice for those minorities already employed. The Witt/Kieffer study revealed the majority of the 470 executives surveyed, stated there were a lack of diverse candidates for positions, a common theme for corporations with a dismal record of hiring minorities.
As a minority in healthcare, who has been a featured speaker at conferences, has a popular blog, and a rich history of successes, I’ve never been approached by a hospital for an employment opportunity! What makes it most sad is that I know a few hospital executives, a few payer executives, and other executives within the healthcare industry. However, I’ve always felt my obvious desire for independence as a consultant, was the pediment. Now, I’m wondering if that is the case, or not. Due to my visibility, excellent track record in healthcare and C-suite network, and the majority of hospital executives stating there aren’t enough diverse candidates, you would think that someone would approach me! However, this hasn’t happen and now I’m wondering, why?
Looking at solutions to this old civil right, I believe there is a combination of needed actions. First, hospitals need to develop a plan on the hiring and recruiting of minorities in healthcare. This plan should include real action items and should have a budget representing the effort. Secondly, we need to do more to get the word out on the vast amount of opportunities which exist in healthcare. This effort should be a collaboration among high schools, colleges, hospitals, home healthcare facilities, and healthcare organizations like HIMSS, AHIMA, ATA, and MGMA. Lastly, taking a lesson from my colleague and friends Tiffany Crenshaw and the lntellect Resources team, maybe minorities need a special “Big Break”!