Diversifying healthcare employees is the key to addressing health inequities. When the organization improves the health of the most marginalized group, it improves the nation’s health. Just like when we reflect on the nation’s climate concerning political issues and racial injustices, both systemic and institutionalized, the health inequities are clear. Using Collins (2005) 8-step policy analysis framework, this paper develops a policy analysis to diversify the healthcare workforce to improve health equity.
Step 1. Define the Context
Based on Collins (2005), step 1 of the policy analysis framework involves developing a comprehensive profile of the nation. The action includes providing the background information of the nation and t understanding the determinants of health problems such as cultural and socio-economic problems that form the basis for health policy analysis. In this case, the U.S. healthcare system is affected by varying problems, including the socio-economic status of the minority groups, who are most affected when it comes to health disparities. Research shows that individuals of color are disproportionately affected by diabetes and cancer (National Center for Health Statistics, 2021). And non-Hispanic black women are three times more expected to face maternal death than their white counterparts.
Step 2. State the Problem
Defining the health problem is the second step of the policy analysis based on Collins (2005). This is an important step since it leads to a problem statement that guides the whole process of policy development. For this case, the major problem is the lack of diversity in the workforce, specifically in a healthcare organization. A 2010 report showed a scarcity of ethnic diversity in plastic surgery. Black females in plastic and reconstructive surgery represented 3.7% of residents and fellows that year (Nair & Adetayo 2019). Diversification is needed because organizations and specialists should develop efforts to attract, retain, and promote highly motivated and skilled women and minorities.
Step 3. Search for Evidence
Reports from public health organizations and the CDC show that health disparities’ alarming effects have increased in recent days. For instance, Black, American Indian/Alaska Native, and Hispanic individuals were four to five times more likely to be hospitalized for COVID-19 than non-Hispanic whites and also died at a significantly higher rate. Such disparities have shown a great gap in the nation’s public health system (National Center for Health Statistics, 2021). Recent research also shows that racial and ethnic minorities get a lower quality of healthcare across various diseases and healthcare services even when access-related factors are considered (Wilbur et al., 202). To help solve this disparity, research suggests a greater diversity in the healthcare workforce. This is seen as an encouraging approach to addressing racial and ethnic healthcare inequity by improving access to healthcare for minorities (Wilbur et al., 2020).
Step 4. Consider different Policy Options
When discussing the policy option, it is best to consider the racial and ethnic diversity in health professions education. A 2015 report shows that White students comprised 47.8% of medical school applicants and 51.2% of enrolled students (Wilbur et al., 2020). In the same year only 6% of medical school graduate form African American students and 5% Hispanic or Latino students. Students of color are still underrepresented in many healthcare profession schools. The best way to increase diversity is to improve the representation of minority students in schools. The policy should focus on supporting minority students financially through students programs to increase the representation in healthcare professional schools.
Step 5. Project Outcome
Establishing the financial aid and forgiveness programs has been effective in increasing the number of students of color in medical schools. During the 1990s, the number of minority student’s application in medical schools increased greatly after the federal government decided to support them financially (Wilbur et a., 2020). However, affirmative actions and race-based admission policies have resulted in many Supreme Court cases leading to a decline in applicants from minority groups in the nation’s medical programs. The initiative to support students of color through financial aid is still crucial to address the issue of diversity in healthcare and improve health equity.
Step 6. Apply Evaluative Criteria
The primary goal of the recommendation is to increase diversity of the healthcare workforce and hence the health equity. The significant component of such efforts is through retentions and enrollment of students of color throughout the educational pipeline. Research shows that healthcare providers who identify racial or ethnic minorities are more expected to deliver care to minority, lower-income, and uninsured populations (Wilbur et al., 2020). Same way, the probability of a medical resident taking primary care as their field is approximately four times for a black resident than their White counterparts. Such facts shows how a diverse workforce helps care for a largely diverse patient population.
Step 7. Weigh the Outcome
Enlisting diverse student populations into healthcare professional training programs is imperative to improve health disparities and as well as the cross-cultural communication. The larger outcome emphasizes on educating healthcare professionals on health disparities and cultural humility. Study demonstrates that cultural humility education for healthcare professional throughout their formative years of training can positively influence patient and worker satisfaction, particularly in disparate population (Wilbur et al., 2020). The capability to deliver care at a personalized level shows that the specialist understands and identifies the individual’s culture and psychosocial position to finally offer more holistic care.
Sep 8. Make the Decision
The primary decision to improve diversity in the healthcare workforce is through comprehensive program in minority education. Several other efforts have been made to increase the diversity ranging from high school programs meant to increase the interest in STEM and the efforts at professional school levels, but the promising practice would involve the combination of academic support, social support, and financial support (Yancy & Bauchner, 2021)
In conclusion, for the nation to provide patient populations with high-quality and accessible care to all, it is important to advocate for a diversity in the healthcare workforce. Diversity in healthcare workforce improves the understanding of challenges that exist for myriad of patients. The support through financial aid and other educational programs can significantly increase diversity in the healthcare workforce.
Collins, T. (2005). Health policy analysis: a simple tool for policymakers. Public health, 119(3), 192-196.
Nair, L., & Adetayo, O. A. (2019). Cultural competence and ethnic diversity in healthcare. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Global Open, 7(5).
National Center for Health Statistics. (2021). Provisional COVID-19 deaths: Distribution of deaths by race and Hispanic origin.
Yancy, C. W., & Bauchner, H. (2021). Diversity in medical schools—need for a new bold approach. JAMA, 325(1), 31-32.
Wilbur, K., Snyder, C., Essary, A. C., Reddy, S., Will, K. K., & Saxon, M. (2020). Developing workforce diversity in the health professions: a social justice perspective. Health Professions Education, 6(2), 222-229.