Introduction: How building a more diverse clinician pipeline can strengthen your workforce
Despite years of attention and investment, whole pools of talent are still underrepresented in the clinical workforce. Individuals from racial minority groups and low-income backgrounds are particularly underrepresented in the clinical workforce, though these patterns persist for other dimensions of identity as well, including gender identity and sexual orientation.
These gaps indicate areas where inequity is manifesting in our own communities and institutions. As health care organizations and as major employers, it is part of our mandate to ensure equitable career opportunities for our employees and community members. In addition, this underrepresentation is a problem because talent is being excluded from the clinical workforce at a time when we can’t afford to lose a single individual, as most institutions face high turnover and vacancy rates.
One overlooked opportunity with significant potential is to design a robust clinician pipeline strategy centered around the people who are underrepresented in your workforce today. Because these are communities where we’ve historically under-invested, most institutions have significant room for growth.
While inequities persist across the employee lifecycle, this research will focus on three strategies to improve the recruiting and hiring process in order to design a more diverse clinician pipeline:
- Assess clinical workforce composition to identify who is underrepresented
- Design paths for more people from underrepresented groups to become clinicians
- Evaluate role requirements that deter qualified applicants
This report provides a detailed overview of each strategy, including why this strategy matters, how to implement it, and recommended resources.
While having tactical solutions is helpful, our research has also found that organizations tend to encounter other hidden challenges. For each strategy, we’ve also included a discussion of why this is hard, as well as reflection questions designed to help you and your fellow leaders name the particular sticking points coming up at your organization. This is a crucial foundation to enable you to advance workforce diversity and equity.