Early experiences, mentors inspire minority executives to help others
With the Obama administration setting the pace for diversity in leadership, healthcare is racing to catch up. Diversity is here, says George Hernandez Jr., left, one of this year’s Top 25 Minority Executives in Healthcare. “The real thing we can affect is whether we will develop the next generation to take the place of the baby boomer generation.”
More than a year into President Barack Obama’s first term in office, it’s worth reflecting on the gains made in diversity at the top. The nation’s first black president has selected a diverse Cabinet, with Hilda Solis, a Latina, as labor secretary; Eric Holder, who’s black, as attorney general; and two Asian-Americans, Steven Chu and Gary Locke, serving as secretaries of energy and commerce, respectively.
The country sees diversity on the White House staff, and representing U.S. interests abroad, with Susan Rice, an African-American, for instance, serving as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
So where is healthcare at when it comes to diversity in leadership?
A recent survey suggests the industry still has a ways to go.
White men continue to dominate the top healthcare management positions, according to a 2008 survey of 1,500 members of the American College of Healthcare Executives and the National Association of Health Services Executives.
Some 56% of white men surveyed held top jobs of CEO, chief operating officer or senior vice president. Meanwhile, 37% of Hispanic women and 31% of white women held these top posts. And 39% of black men surveyed held positions in the highest levels of management, according to the report.
White men earned more. In 2007, white male healthcare executives earned on average 30% more than black male executives. The white men surveyed earned a median of $168,200 that year, while black men earned $117,500. Hispanic men earned 21% less than white men, or a median of $132,300. Asian men earned $111,300, or 34% less than their white male counterparts.
Women also lagged behind in earnings. White women earned 25% less than white men, or a median of $126,700 in 2007. Black women earned 23% less than white women, or $97,700. Hispanic women earned slightly more, at a median of $101,200, and Asian women earned 22% less than white women, or $98,900, according to the survey.
Controlling for education and years of healthcare management experience, white men still earned the most compared with their peers.
Minority healthcare executives reported lower job satisfaction, too. Black women expressed the lowest level of satisfaction in their careers, while white respondents were the most satisfied on the job. Black women
A photo album of the Top 25 Minority Executives at
Paula Autry has been president of Mount Carmel East hospital in Columbus, Ohio, since 2007.