The Importance of Diversity in Healthcare With André Blackman

André Blackman of Onboard Health discusses the need for diversity in healthcare.

Now more than ever, it is crucial to have diversity in healthcare. Given what is known about how COVID-19 affects different races and ethnicities, a more diverse workforce could help bridge the gap of care.

André Blackman is the chief executive officer and founder of Onboard Health, a specialized executive recruiting firm dedicated to building an inclusive future of health. In a recent interview with Chief Healthcare Executive™, Blackman spoke about the need to make diversity in healthcare a priority, challenges that might arise, and how to ensure a health system is diverse from top down.

“If you start looking at leadership of companies that are building the future of health and tackling things like chronic disease, heart disease, diabetes, mental health, all of the conditions that are adversely affecting people of color in underrepresented communities, if you have leadership in place to build the products and services in a more equitable way, it only makes sense that we have leadership reflecting the communities that we have in our society,” Blackman said.

Diversity should be a top priority in healthcare, especially when looking at value-based care and outcomes, Blackman said. There was a massive uptick in COVID-19-related deaths when the disease riddled Black and Brown communities. If health systems want to serve communities, having diversity and equity built into programs should be at the top of their list.

To be more diverse, leaders need to be more competent and look at who they are bringing in. But it can be difficult to get people of color to join the medical field in general. Hiring practices also must be more inclusive.