Growing diversity and leadership within the healthcare industry: 4 insights

Fostering gender equity and diversity efforts within the workplace requires substantive initiatives that generate tangible and meaningful outcomes.

During Becker's Hospital Review's 5th Annual Health IT + Revenue Cycle event in Chicago on Oct. 10, panelists gathered to discuss efforts to promote gender diversity within the healthcare industry and how to avoid falling into echo chamber territory. Molly Gamble, editor-in-chief and vice president of editorial at Becker's Healthcare, moderated the panel session, which also featured the following participants:

· Pranavi V. Sreeramoju, MD, medical director of clinical finance at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.
· Precious Mayes, CEO at Pacifica Hospital of the Valley in Los Angeles.
· Beena Peters, RN, chief nursing officer, Cook County Health System in Chicago.

Here are four takeaways from the session:

1. Many hospitals and health systems have implemented programs aimed at increasing diversity and inclusion, yet these initiatives sputter out because they lack adequate investment. Organizations that invest in meaningful action, such as dedicated leadership mentoring programs for staff, will see payoff over time.

2. Within academic medicine, understand that leadership requires exposure, opportunities and guided mentorship. Establishing network opportunities that promote strong connections between women at work will support more women rising to leadership positions.

3. To avoid entering echo chamber territory for diversity and inclusion efforts, it's important to transition from emotional, reflexive thinking to an intentional, deliberate and logical mentality. Think about what skills each member of the group brings to the team and what blind spots each individual fills. Combining each member's individual and diverse skills will help reduce insights lost to blind spots.

4. Healthcare leaders should feel empowered to bring their whole selves to their positions. Team members want to know about their leader's personal life, such as their favorite hobbies. Sharing this information allows the individual to bring their whole self to their leadership position and become their own leader rather than mimicking someone who they may have seen effectively lead in another position.

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