Ensuring equality with a framework for workforce inclusion

The importance of an inclusive workforce culture in health care is key to advancing scientific inquiry, improving the quality of care, and optimizing patient satisfaction. In fact, diverse student bodies and workforces have been shown to improve everyone’s cultural effectiveness and address inequities in health care delivery. Now, inclusiveness of workplace culture can be measured by a concrete set of six factors, according to a study published in JAMA Network Open from researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine.

Previous studies have demonstrated how structural bias and a professional’s individual implicit and explicit biases in decision-making leads to health disparities, even in places where people of different ethnicities have equal access to care. One of the major ways to mitigate this bias is to foster inclusive environments that ensure equal treatment and advancement of diverse members. Although organizations may aim to be inclusive, many have lacked the structure needed to achieve and measure success.  

“This study finds that heath care is not immune to the workplace challenges and inequality experienced by women and minorities, which have taken center stage among discussions in many other industries,” says lead author Jaya Aysola, an assistant professor of general internal medicine and assistant dean of Inclusion and Diversity. “This is a pivotal time where there is a growing realization of the importance of inclusion to our collective success and the need for every perspective and voice to matter. While we often use the word “inclusion,” there remains a lack of understanding of what exactly it means to health care organizations and how it can be operationalized.”

Read more at Penn Medicine News.