Health Workforce Diversity Initiative
The Health Workforce Diversity Initiative is helping to promote greater racial and ethnic parity in the health workforce through measurement and accountability.
Over the course of the past year, we’ve seen both nationwide protests over racial inequalities as well as a crippling pandemic disproportionately impacting communities of color. As the public debate on these issues shifts and responds to the urgency of the situation, decision makers are seeking guidance, understanding, and insights to craft effective evidence-based policies.
In terms of inequalities in healthcare, an issue of the highest concern, deepening the diversity of the workforce is an optimal strategy to address racial disparities. But this goal remains elusive without accurate data on the composition of the workforce, the pipeline, and clear benchmarks for organizations to strive toward.
The Health Workforce Diversity Initiative is dedicated to addressing under-representation among healthcare workers by analyzing data on the diversity of the health workforce and the educational pipeline across thirty health occupations, from front-line workers to physicians.
A Diversity Index examines the relative percentage of graduates (or practitioners) in a health profession compared to the percentage of individuals in the population of that race/ethnicity. Using this data, the Tracker will provide regular “report cards” on representation efforts by states, professions, and institutions, as well as an interactive data exploration tool. The Tracker is a project of the Fitzhugh Mullan Institute for Health Workforce Equity and the Social Mission Alliance.
Why We Need A Diverse Health Workforce
Black/African-American, Latinx/Hispanic, and Native American individuals are under-represented in health professions. A more diverse workforce leads to:
- Increasing access and quality of healthcare
- Advancing cultural competency of all providers
- Strengthening and broadening medical research
- Improving optimal management of the healthcare system
- Estimation and comparison of current and future racial/ethnic representation in the U.S. health care workforce (Salsberg et al., 2021)
- Limited, uneven progress is increasing racial and ethnic diversity of dental school graduates (Salsberg et al., 2021)