Modern Healthcare this week released its 2019 list of the "Top 25 Women in Healthcare," which honors female executives from different sectors of the health care industry.
To create the list, Modern Healthcare accepted hundreds of nominations for women who are in health care leadership roles across the country. To be eligible for the honor, the women must:
This year, Modern Healthcare also published a list of "10 Women Leaders to Watch" for 2019, which included executives from health insurance companies, hospitals, and physician organizations. The list has the same eligibility requirements as the "Top 25 Women in Healthcare" list, but allows Modern Healthcare to "honor additional high-achievers in the field at all stages of their careers" at the executive-level or managerial positions, the publication said.
According to Modern Healthcare, a panel of judges and "top editors" at the publication selected who to include on the lists.
The women who made Modern Healthcare's "Top 25 Women in Healthcare" list for 2019—in alphabetical order by last name—are:
The women who made Modern Healthcare's "Women to Watch" list for 2019—in alphabetical order by last name—are:
Daily Briefing is published by Advisory Board, a division of Optum, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group. UnitedHealth Group separately owns UnitedHealthcare ("Top 25 Women Leaders" list, Modern Healthcare, accessed 2/19; "Top 25 Women Leaders" methodology, Modern Healthcare, accessed 2/19; Furst Group, 2/18).
Allison Cuff Shimooka, Executive Director, Research
The data are pretty clear that having more diversity in leadership—both in ethnicity and gender—helps organizations succeed. One study, which looked at 21,980 firms from 91 countries, found that a firm with at least 30% female leaders could expect to be 15% more profitable than a similar firm with no women in leadership. A study of the 400 largest companies in California found that the 25 firms with the highest percentage of female leaders and board members had at least a 74% higher median return on assets and equity.
“Despite women making up 80% of the health care workforce, they comprise just 3% of CEOs”
Yet, the state of female leadership in the country—and particularly in the health care industry—continues to be bleak. Despite women making up 80% of the health care workforce, they comprise just 3% of CEOs, 6% of department chairs, 9% of division chiefs, and 3% of chief medical officers.
We at the Advisory Board have faced the same problem. Seven years ago, our board looked at the number of female leaders in the organization and the results were discouraging. They noticed that many women were leaving the organization right before they would enter senior leadership— and the result was a distinct lack of senior women leaders. So the board told CEO Robert Musselwhite that he needed to address the issue.
He responded by implementing a number of strategies, one of which was creating a "Women in Leadership" program which selected 20 promising female leaders at the organization (myself included), and provided us leadership coaching, mentorship, and 360-degree leadership assessments. It was highly impactful for me. Not only did I get to know senior leaders at the organization, it gave me peers to collaborate with and a strong network I could rely on.
“Today, a woman leads our entire research operation. ”
And it made a difference. Today, a woman leads our entire research operation. We have many female executive directors, many women leading our research teams, and many more women—who weren't in the program but were inspired by the success of those in it—rising up the ranks.
That doesn't mean that we've become perfect. It's clear that we still have work to do. Yet, personally, having been involved in the program showed me that the firm truly believed in the issue and was willing to invest in it—it wasn't just paying lip service.
To learn more about how your organization can address this issue, read my colleague Veena Lanka's post, "How the health care leadership gender imbalance hurts your organization—and 4 ways to make a change." Then be sure to download our report on How to Ensure Seamless Leadership Transitions to learn more about how to create a diverse pipeline to leadership.
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