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Celebrating Diversity in Healthcare

By Amit Kachalia, MD, MBA, CPE, Senior Vice President, TeamHealth Southeast Group

Each April, we take time to observe Celebrate Diversity Month. Earlier this month, we defined diversity and talked about TeamHealth’s Diversity and Inclusion commitment. For many years, we have championed diversity in our organization through programs such as our Women in Leadership Group and Veteran’s Employee Resource Group. Today, we turn to why diversity in healthcare is vital.  

Why is diversity essential in healthcare?

Diversity and inclusion are essential aspects of any industry. However, the significance of diversity in healthcare is paramount. As defined, diversity goes beyond race and ethnicity. Instead, it extends to all aspects of a person’s being, such as socioeconomic status, gender identity, physical ability and more.

In healthcare, we have a diversified patient population, and it is important for patients to resonate with their healthcare providers. For example, a 2020 study found that patient satisfaction increased when the physicians and patients shared the same or similar race and ethnicity.

Because of this, healthcare organizations must prioritize diversity and inclusion in their workforce, clinical and non-clinical. Diversity, across the spectrum of unique identifiers that make us individuals, is essential to delivering quality healthcare to varied patient populations.

How does diversity affect healthcare workforces?

Not only do diversity and inclusion promote a beneficial clinician-patient relationship, but these principles also contribute to a healthy workforce. Numerous articles confirm that diversity contributes to successful clinician team dynamics, communication, patient engagement and better outcomes.

Moreover, having a diversified workforce also drives clinician retention and positively impacts access to underserved populations through inclusive policymaking. Healthcare expertise needs to be supplemented with a contemporary cultural and communication skillset, to enable effective delivery of one’s service.

Being an immigrant from India, I worked on developing these attributes and am grateful to have worked with an organization that supported this development. The principles of diversity and inclusion are embedded in TeamHealth’s mission and allow us to provide quality patient care through our talented, diverse clinical operating team.

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