Governing for Diverse Communities

By Mary K. Totten

In July 2011, five national health associations jointly urged hospital and health system leaders to take three steps to help eliminate health disparities and improve quality of care. These steps called for increasing:

  • collection and use of race, ethnicity and language preference data;
  • cultural competency training;
  • diversity in governance and leadership to better reflect communities served.

In response to this national call to action issued by the American Hospital Association, American College of Healthcare Executives, the Catholic Health Association of the United States, America’s Essential Hospitals (formerly the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems) and the American Association of Medical Colleges, some progress has been made. However, new study findings indicate little to no progress has been made in increasing the overall diversity of health care organization board membership.

Data from the AHA’s 2014 National Health Care Governance Survey Report show that racial, ethnic, gender and even age diversity among board members has stayed the same or declined since the previous survey was conducted in 2011.

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