Diversity and Inclusion

“We know that diversity in healthcare management can enhance quality of patient care, improve a hospital’s community relations, and have a very positive affect on a community’s health status.”

Diversity and inclusion is multifaceted concept. It requires us to expand our view of who we are as a community, and as a nation. As such, diversity and inclusion is an ongoing process of seeing “the other” as “part of us” and then making room in our hearts, our places of work, and our larger community for all our citizens to know they are supported, valued, and integral to our success as a whole.

Earlier this year, Becker’s Hospital Review featured “50 great African American leaders in healthcare to know.” The article highlighted African Americans who have taken on leadership roles in hospitals, health systems, and national organizations, helping to develop policies that promote diversity and advocate for the next generation of leaders.

Jacksonville’s Vanessa Ervin, president and CEO of Carobell, a licensed nonprofit that provides medical care for the developmentally disabled, was among those featured. Ms. Ervin is a member and past Chair of the Onslow County Hospital Authority and serves on the American Hospital Association's board of trustees. She has also served on the North Carolina Hospital Association's board and received the association's 2015 Trustee Merit Award.

“I was thrilled to be among those chosen by Becker’s Review,” Ms. Ervin recently said. 

“We know that diversity in healthcare management can enhance quality of patient care, improve a hospital’s community relations, and have a very positive affect on a community’s health status. We all want the best for our Onslow community, and for our wonderful community hospital, so striving for greater diversity at all levels is in everyone’s best interest!”

On its website, the American College of Healthcare Executives states our country's increasingly diverse community will result in a more diverse patient population moving toward a majority-minority balance by 2043. And while “those changing demographics are reflected in hospital patient populations” the increasing diversity “is not reflected in healthcare administration leadership.”

The Institute for Diversity in Health Management has initiated educational programs, summer internships, professional development and leadership conferences with the aim of increasing the number of minorities in health services administration to better reflect the communities they serve. 

As OMH’s Taylor Flowers, Senior Vice President Human Resources, points out, diversity and inclusion in a hospital setting requires us to not only “sense others’ needs” but act on them with changes that make all patients, providers, and staff feel supported in areas that include, but are not limited to, racial, ethnic, gender, religious, intellectual, and generational diversities. Some of the key issues the OMH Diversity Committee and organization have been able to address are: 

  • Ensuring patients receive information about their health in their preferred language; written and oral
  • Implementing an effective interpretation and translation system through a partnership with MARRTI
  • Adding a Patient Family Advisory Committee member to the Diversity Committee
  • Creating unisex restrooms hospital-wide
  • Adding a breastfeeding room on 2nd floor for all staff
  • Having Kronos, our HR/Payroll system, available in 18 different languages 
  • Making sure employees receive Diversity training during Annual Mandatories and Orientation
  • Keeping the organizational focus on patient- and family-centered care (one of the four key principles is dignity and respect which embraces diversity and supports individuals beliefs and values)
  • Making cultural reference books available on each unit (Mosby's Pocket Guide to Cultural Health Assessment )
  • Training employees on a multigenerational workforce; training leaders on leading in a multigenerational workforce


Written by Jennifer Mackenzie