Diversification of the Health Care Workforce: Six Research Propositions for Future Research

By Michelle C. Haynes, Robin A. Toof, Michelle D. Holmberg and Meg A. Bond.

Published by The Diversity Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Given the rapidly changing demographics of the Unites States population, the diversification of the health care workforce is essential for providing all residents with culturally and linguistically appropriate care. Community health centers (CHCs) play a critical role in the provision of health care to the most needy U.S. residents, and their patient populations typically include multiple ethnic minority groups as well as new immigrants. As such, CHCs are not only particularly aware of the challenges inherent in developing and managing a diverse workforce that reflects those they serve, but they have also developed many promising practices to overcome these challenges. In the process of documenting these challenges and best practices in a sample of Massachusetts CHCs a number of valuable insights emerged which we present herein. Specifically, we suggest six propositions, grounded in a social ecological framework, to guide future research endeavors aimed at further understanding the intricate diversity dynamics in the health care workforce.

Keywords: Health Care, Community Health, Diversity, Race, Ethnicity, Workforce

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 11, Issue 5, pp.163-174. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 789.325KB).

Michelle C. Haynes

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, Massachusetts, USA

Michelle C. Haynes, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Psychology and an Associate of the Center for Women & Work at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. She is a Co-PI on the Healthy Diversity Project that is referenced in this article. For the past decade, her research has examined workplace diversity issues with a particular focus on the role stereotyping processes play in the obstacles individuals face in their climb up the organizational hierarchy. This has translated into various lines of research including: examining the attribution of credit and blame for group work and investigating the perception of organizational policies such as affirmative action. She is the co-founder and coordinator of the Workplace Diversity Graduate Certificate at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

Robin A. Toof

Co-Director, Center for Family, Work, and Community, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, Massachusetts, USA

Robin A. Toof, Ed.D. is the Co-Director of the Center for Family, Work & Community and Director of the Service-Learning and Community Co-Ops office at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. She has worked in the field of research and evaluation, community partnerships, program management and facilitation for 20 years. Agencies and/or projects that she has been involved in include: CDC-funded Cambodian Community Health 2010 health disparities reduction program; four Center for Substance Abuse Prevention projects located in Lowell, Worcester and Lawrence; Lowell Police Department’s Weed and Seed and Problem Solving grants; Lowell School Department’s health curriculum; Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley and Lowell Housing Authority’s partnership to improve services to elders and disabled residents; and Family Service, Inc’s HIV/AIDS prevention, Marriage Enrichment and AMIGOS mentoring programs. She also has facilitated numerous teambuilding, training and strategic planning workshops for corporate, non-profit, college and youth work teams and has taught graduate courses in grant writing and working with groups.

Michelle D. Holmberg

Project Manager, Center for Women and Work, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, Massachusetts, USA

Michelle D. Holmberg is the Project Manager for the Healthy Diversity Project at the Center for Women & Work at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. She is also the Program Manager for the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) at the Center for Family, Work, & Community, also at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Her work focuses on empowering marginalized groups, both in terms of workforce representation and in gaining access to important resources like broadband internet. Her prior research has examined attitudes towards minority groups, with a focus on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights and issues.

Meg A. Bond

Professor and Director, Center for Women and Work, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, Massachusetts, USA

Meg A. Bond, Ph.D. is a Professor of Psychology and Director of the Center for Women & Work at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. She is also the PI on the Healthy Diversity Project that is summarized in the current article. Her work focuses on the interrelationships among issues of diversity, empowerment, and organizational dynamics. Her past publications have addressed sexual harassment, collaboration among diverse constituencies, and empowerment of underrepresented groups in community and organizational settings. Her book entitled Workplace Chemistry: Promoting Diversity through Organizational Change (2007) chronicles a long term organizational change project focused on issues of gender and race/ethnicity. Meg is a former president of the Society for Community Research and Action (SCRA) and currently serves on the American Psychological Association Board for the Advancement of Psychology in the Public Interest. She has served on numerous editorial boards has received two prestigious career awards from SCRA for championing issues of diversity within the field of community psychology.

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