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Diversity in Healthcare: Why it Matters and How to Promote It

Diversity is the practice of including folks from all different backgrounds and identities to contribute to an organization. Diversity is valuable in any industry, but its importance in healthcare can’t be overstated. Studies have shown that healthcare diversity is better for employees and patients. Among staff, it can lead to better communication, innovation, and higher retention; in patients, it increases trust in providers and reduces health disparities between different groups.

Here are five ways to build a more diverse organization and create a better experience for both employees and patients:

1. Understand your starting point.

Gather employee feedback or bring in an outside contractor to assess your company’s diversity efforts. You can use surveys or focus groups to understand better where you need to improve. Establishing this baseline will help you develop a more practical approach.

2. Encourage diverse applicants.

Consider expanding your recruitment efforts to reach a more diverse population. Talk to your hiring team about changing your marketing tactics to make your job listings more accessible. For example, you may want to list job descriptions in different languages.

3. Address bias openly and honestly.

Employees who experience discrimination often don’t come forward because they’re scared of punishment or retaliation—creating a safe space for workers to report negative experiences and trust that issues will be handled quickly and transparently is essential.

4. Measure success.

It’s not enough to promote diversity in your facility – you also need specific, measurable goals to determine what works and what doesn’t. Choose two or three goals to work towards over a set period and keep track of your progress. For example, you may want to aim for a certain number of trainings per year or a higher approval rating among staff.

5. Get leadership on board.

To create lasting change, you need the full support of executive leaders. They can advocate for diversity from the top down and set the tone for the rest of the company. Consider holding monthly meetings to discuss diversity efforts and keep them updated on your company’s progress.

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