Press Release

Statement on NAACP Survey

Rich Umbdenstock

President and CEO

American Hospital Association

April 2, 2015

The NAACP’s Opportunity and Diversity Report Card initiative, which attempts to measure efforts in various industries important for an inclusive diversity program, makes a very important contribution to increasing the awareness of some critical issues. Today’s survey results will point to ways America’s hospitals can improve the diversity to which they are deeply committed. 

The American Hospital Association’s vision is of a society of healthy communities, where all individuals reach their highest potential for health – the very definition of health equity. We believe that as part of our mission to deliver the highest quality care, our leadership and our workforce must better represent the communities we serve.

Hospitals’ unique challenges related to diversity have led to specific efforts. For the past 20 years, the AHA’s Institute for Diversity in Health Management (IFD) has worked to increase the number of minorities in the top ranks of America’s hospitals. We are proud of the more than 700 men and women who have participated in the Institute’s internship programs and are committed to this important work. The AHA, the American College of Healthcare Executives, the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Catholic Health Association of the United States, and America’s Essential Hospitals also have joined in a “Call to Action to Eliminate Health Disparities,” an effort to speed up adoption of practices that will achieve equity of care. The effort stresses increasing the collection and use of race, ethnicity and language preference data, cultural competency training and diversity in governance and leadership. A recent IFD survey has identified several areas where both progress has been made and where improvement is needed. The AHA, along with our national partners, is committed to continually finding ways to make sure hospitals are reflective of and responsive to the communities they serve.

Hospitals are, however, uniquely complex organizations that are not easily compared to other entities. Their requirements for highly-skilled workers often exceed the number of people trained for such jobs, especially individuals from under-resourced communities. A critical focus of hospitals’ diversity efforts is eliminating disparities in health care, an activity that is not measured on this report card. And most hospitals make most of their purchases through group purchasing organizations, so procurement comparisons are not fully meaningful. 

Despite these activities, there is more work to be done, especially as communities become increasingly diverse, and America’s hospitals are totally committed to addressing these issues.    We call on hospitals to more fully engage their communities as they continue to better reflect and meet their needs. 

 

 

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About the AHA

The AHA is a not-for-profit association of health care provider organizations and individuals that are committed to the health improvement of their communities. The AHA is the national advocate for its members, which include nearly 5,000 hospitals, health care systems, networks, other providers of care and 43,000 individual members. Founded in 1898, the AHA provides education for health care leaders and is a source of information on health care issues and trends. For more information, visit the AHA website at www.aha.org.

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