Diverse Healthcare Leaders’ COVID-19 Virtual Roundtable
In early April 2020, ACHE invited a group of racially/ethnically and LGBTQ diverse healthcare executives to a virtual career roundtable for them to share in a safe space on how they are managing professional and personal realities amid the COVID-19 pandemic. We extend sincere gratitude to the 23 leaders who made time in their extremely busy schedules to participate.
Participants selected one of three ways to share their perspectives:
- participate in small-group virtual 30-minute conversation,
- complete a 5-question online survey, or
- hold a 1:1 phone conversation with ACHE’s Diversity & Inclusion Director.
Below are highlights from their responses to the fourth question:
Agree/Disagree/It Depends: Healthcare organizations’ previous commitment to diversity and inclusion/equity—evidenced, in part, by proper resource allocation—will likely be diminished in the post-pandemic period.
- Yes/Agree: 4 participants
- It depends/Neutral: 7 participants
- No/Disagree: 8 participants
General topics mentioned most often
- It depends on how D&I/E is prioritized in post-COVID budgets and strategic plans (6 participants)
- Organizations with a strong D&I/E commitment will retain it post-COVID (4 participants)
“I believe the organizations that are committed to diversity, inclusion and equity will continue to be committed because they are living out their mission during this time.”
“I’m very optimistic it will remain strong post pandemic. Our D&I office is leading a major part of the charge for COVID preparation for staff.”
Selected Response Excerpts and Summaries
Small Focus Group Responses
- It depends on the organization and how strong its commitment was to begin with. Those who are strong before will continue to hold on.
- It depends on how soon D&I efforts can bounce back. How they will prioritize those efforts with budgets changing will be a factor.
- I disagree. I believe the organizations that are committed to diversity, inclusion and equity will continue to be committed because they are living out their mission during this time. How it is prioritized at this point will expose those who aren’t interested. How each organization will prioritize it will be different.
- It really depends. In addition to the organizational culture, how it is attached to the strategic plan may make a difference. It has to be attached to a plan that has metrics that will hold people accountable.
- I think the focus has been on the ever-changing COVID updates. Diversity issues still exists in the background.
- Everything that’s not dealing with the crisis-at-hand has been canceled. It hasn’t been diminished but a lot will change on how we provide care to patients. I don’t think this will fall off the radar.
- While we aren’t having activities, our work around diversity equity and inclusion is still in place and in some regards heightened. I’m very optimistic it will remain strong post-pandemic. Our D&I office is leading a major part of the charge for COVID preparation for staff: Things like helping folks stay socially connected while staying distance; asking leaders’ recommendations to keep our teams strong; focus on employees’ mental health. I’m optimistic that we will see all of that work as good business that we will strengthen now and post-pandemic.
- It depends on how the hospital internalizes D&I; how it’s prioritized and who is at the table.
- It depends on the organization’s mission and values and what they see as important. It definitely could change how things turn out financially. If it’s important, they won’t get rid of it, but it will be modified.
- I do agree. The first couple of months after COVID, things will be put on hold and re-assessed on where the money should be going. We will have to look at resource allocation, as a whole. We will have a commitment to growth to capture new hires. In the post-pandemic, there will be a tightening of the belt for everything. If you have a strong core, it will buck back the first few months afterwards. It will be reevaluated and really look at on how we will spend our money.
Survey Question: Consider the healthcare management field overall, not just your organization. Understanding that these are general statements that will not apply to ALL organizations, consider your response for what may be true in many situations. Indicate your degree of agreement with the statement: Hospital and healthcare organizations’ previous commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion—evidenced, in part, by proper resource allocation—will likely be diminished in the post-pandemic period.
- Strongly/somewhat DISAGREE 16%
- NEUTRAL 34%
- Strongly/somewhat AGREE 50%
- I don’t think so. The established D&I commitment will continue in my organization. Workforce development is the most critical asset in an organization. The virus will not change my organization’s commitment to a diverse workforce.
- Hopefully organizations will come out of it seeing there should be more commitment to D&I.
- I don’t think so. I think these values and principles should not change. In fact, they will be furthered or enhanced.