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Journal of Nursing Research and Practice

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The be ethical campaign: Ending healthcare gender workforce disparity

Author(s): Tiffany Ann Love*

In November 2018 the Harvard Medical School “Career Advancement and Leadership Skills for Women in Healthcare” Continuing Medical Education (CME) will invest in the #BeEthical strategic initiative with the aim of ending workforce disparities as an ethical imperative. The 2002 Institute of Medicine Report, “Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Healthcare,” was a ground-breaking research study identifying undeniable disparity in care provided to patients based on race and ethnicity. This report recommended increasing the proportion of underrepresented minorities in the healthcare workforce as a strategy to improve health outcomes for diverse patients. In 2011 the American Hospital Association (AHA) took this recommendation a step further with the Equity of Care campaign, enlisting healthcare organizations to pledge to act to improve care provided to diverse patients and increasing diversity in the healthcare executive suite leadership. The Institute for Diversity in Health Management commissioned the AHA’s Health Research and Educational Trust to conduct a national survey of U.S. hospitals to quantify the measures they have taken. The results of “Diversity and Disparities: A Benchmarking Study of U.S. Hospitals” have been disappointing. Results demonstrated a decrease in minorities in executive healthcare leadership to 11% in 2015, which was down from the 12% reported in 2013 and 2011. For decades the healthcare executive suite has remained 86% white male. Therefore, it is important to take a new approach and call for leaders to make workforce gender equity an ethical imperative by promoting accomplished women and minorities to the executive suite.

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