Over the years, the National Association of Health Service Executives (NAHSE) has continued to grow and evolve in size and impact. Leaving this year’s annual conference, we were energized by the infusion of new faces and talent, as well as by the exceptional speakers and sessions. It is clear that diversity is a top priority, but the lack of understanding that still exists around inclusion is striking.
Many healthcare organizations are struggling to engage and retain diverse talent. The power of truly understanding what it means to create and uphold an inclusive culture is something we must all strive to achieve. It is not up to one person in the organization. It is up to EVERYONE at every level in the organization. This commitment to and accountability for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) are critical to enacting a shift in organizational culture.
During his session at the NAHSE conference, Jack Lynch, President and CEO of Main Line Health, pointed out that the reason they don’t have a Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) is because he is the CDO. It is his guidance and leadership that will push the organization forward, but, as he so eloquently stated, it cannot be him alone.
It was encouraging to hear from Jack and other leaders on how their organizations are moving the needle on DE&I. Additionally, we enjoyed interacting with the next generation of healthcare leaders during our participation as judges for the Everett V. Fox Student Case Analysis and Presentation Competition, which focused on addressing the healthcare needs of those experiencing homelessness.
The competition honors one of the founding presidents of NAHSE, and serves as a gateway to leadership opportunities for young, aspiring healthcare executives and policy makers. It was exciting to experience the amazing talent and innovative ideas these young leaders are bringing to the healthcare industry.
The conference brought to light the continued challenges we face in healthcare, but also hope for the future. It is clear that there are initiatives in place and motivation to improve. If organizations can commit to measurable, actionable effort we will see significant progress on our journey toward equality in the healthcare industry.
Deanna Banks, Principal Tiara Muse, Director Research