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Every year the United States continues to become a more diverse nation. Changing demographics, immigration, and population shifts mean that more people of different ethnicities, religious beliefs, and orientations are calling all parts of the U.S. home.
So, what does this mean for healthcare organizations?
It means that the need for ‘culturally competent’ caregivers is on the rise. Physicians, nurses, aides, caregivers, and office staff interact with patients of various backgrounds, beliefs, cultures, and ages on a daily basis. From the way that healthcare professionals approach a patient (in some cultures a handshake or eye contact can be considered offensive, while older patients may feel that being addressed by their first name is too informal), to language barriers, to instilling a feeling of trust and comfort, the challenge is on providers and organizations to find ways to better serve patients from all over the world.
Beyond the comfort factor, a lack of diversity can lead to health disparities. A recent report from the Sullivan Commission on Diversity in the Healthcare Workplace, entitled “Missing Persons: Minorities in the Healthcare Professions,” states that “The fact that the nation’s health professions have not kept pace with changing demographics may be an even greater cause of disparities in health access and outcomes than the persistent lack of health insurance for tens of millions of Americans.”
And a 2015 study commissioned by the American Hospital Association found that: “Hospitals and health systems have a great opportunity to improve the health of the individuals and communities they serve by eliminating health care disparities by increasing the collection and use of race, ethnicity and language preference (REAL) data; increasing cultural competency training; and increasing diversity in leadership and governance.” (Source: Diversities and Disparities: A Benchmarking Study of U.S. Hospitals in 2015.)
It seems clear that as the United States becomes a more diverse place, the healthcare industry has an opportunity, and a responsibility, to reflect diversity for the good of us all. At Jordan Search Consultants, offering strategic consultation for creating and implementing inclusive recruitment solutions is a top priority. By providing clients with a diverse pool of premium candidates, we are moving one step closer to a more inclusive healthcare system.
A female cardiologist’s guide to combating gender inequality through advocacy
The following is written by Dr. Toniya Singh, M.D., F.A.C.C., whom we are honored to call a friend and colleague, and has been featured in St. Louis Post-Dispatch and St. Louis Women’s Journal. Dr. Singh is an invasive, non-interventional cardiologist and a managing partner at St. Louis Heart and Vascular. She is also the founding President of the Missouri chapter of Women in Cardiology (WIC) section of The American College of Cardiology and board member of the American Heart Association.
“You’re not a feminist. You’re an individualist.”
My son recently said this to me, and it made me think. His explanation was that I am an advocate for the individual rights and remunerations of a person based on his or her independent actions, regardless of gender.
I dislike arguing about the definitions of feminism versus individualism or discussing which movement is more valid. I am well aware of the many nuances that inherently come with each ideology, and I believe that feminists and individualists all over the world have made—and continue to make—this world a better place. But I have never liked labels because labels don’t matter—facts do. And here is a sobering one: Women are not treated as equals in the workplace. Despite the monumental progress that has been made throughout history, women’s earnings and career advancements continue to trail those of men with comparable education and experience.
I see this firsthand; only 12% of the cardiologists nationwide are female and I’m one of them. According to an American College of Cardiology Survey, 63 percent of my female peers have experienced discrimination in the workplace, such as receiving a lower salary than others in their cohort or being passed up for promotion.
The statistics are similar across industries; the Census Bureau calculates that the average woman in the United States makes 79 cents for every dollar paid to a male counterpart. In top corporate positions, specifically, a recent study found that there’s a sizable gender gap both in terms of the number of female executives (18 percent gap) and how much money they make compared to men (27 percent gap).
Medicine is not exempt—and is the industry with which I am most familiar. Reshma Jagsi, M.D., D.Phil., conducted a study which provided evidence that gender differences in compensation continue to exist in academic medicine. Jagsi states that, “efforts to investigate the mechanisms by which these gender differences develop and ways to mitigate their effects merit continued attention.”
I feel compelled to do just that—investigate ways to mitigate gender disparity in cardiology and in the workplace in general. Despite the fact that more CEOs, heads of state, and university leaders are committing themselves to gender-equality goals than ever, progress remains slow. This is why I’m not concerned with labels. I’m not interested in complaining about the opportunities that my female peers and I have not been given. And I am certainly not here to label society as unfair or demand help.
As a solution-oriented person, I am much more interested in the answers to these questions: Did the women who have experienced pay inequality ever ask to get paid better? Did they negotiate as fiercely as their male counterparts? More importantly, were they given the tools and confidence to do so?
What I’m here to do is empower women to be their own advocates.
It’s time to change the conversation. It’s time to teach the next generation of women that the more we accept personal responsibility for our own lives, the more successful we can be. It’s time to stop labeling and start acting.
Here’s how you can become your own best advocate:
- Be informed. Whether you’re negotiating salary or asking for a promotion, it’s important to know what those in similar positions are making and what kind of experience they have. While your peers don’t necessarily define your worth, having this information in your back pocket—should you need it—makes for a much more compelling argument. There are plenty of resources online that allow you to research median salaries for almost any position in every industry. Or, better yet, ask your more experienced colleagues. You’d be surprised at how many women are willing to discuss these things openly in order to help younger generations succeed.
- Be confident. It’s been said that men will apply for a job if they meet only 60 percent of the qualifications, but women will only apply if they meet 100 percent of the qualifications. What does that tell us? Women need to be more confident in their abilities. You have trained hard, you are capable, and you bring value to the market. You know your worth, so stand firm when articulating it.
- Be realistic. Earning the respect you deserve is one thing, but getting what you want just because you want it is entirely different. Be honest with yourself—you can’t negotiate if you don’t have the required experience or skillsets. It’s also important to understand that you can’t have it all. In an ideal world, we would all have time for our careers and families and social life and hobbies. But realistically, work-life balance comes at a cost. You won’t get paid for 50 hours when you only work 30, no matter how talented you may be. You must be realistic about your own priorities and capacity before demanding more.
- Operate under the assumption that you are being treated as an equal. During any conversation about advancing your career, your goals and skillsets should be your main arguing points. Don’t even bring gender into the equation. If you want to be treated as an equal, it’s best to operate under the assumption that everyone already sees you as an equal. Conversely, know that no one has the right to ask you any gender-biased questions in a professional setting. There is rarely a reason for you to discuss your children, relationship, or plans for pregnancy while applying for a job or negotiating a raise.
- Find a mentor/sponsor. There is perhaps nothing more valuable than soaking up the wisdom of others who have been in your position or who are in a position in which you want to be. And having an ally who is invested in your career will only increase your chance for success. Finding the right mentor or sponsor doesn’t have to be difficult or intimidating. Start by making a list of people whose career track you’d like to follow, and reach out to them. If no one comes to mind—get out there and network. And remember, your mentor and sponsor may be the same person or different people, and you may have various expectations from them according to the role they are assuming. Keep in mind, too, that as your career goals and plans change, so may your mentors and sponsors.
- Take risks. In her Ted Talk, Reshma Saujani explains that most girls are taught to avoid risk and failure in order to pursue perfection, while boys are taught to take risks and be brave. “And by the time they’re adults,” Saujani says, “whether they’re negotiating a raise or even asking someone out on a date, they’re habituated to take risk after risk. They’re rewarded for it.” The lesson to be learned here is that in order to get what you want, you must get comfortable being uncomfortable. Taking risks will always get you further than the “be complacent and complain”.
- Tune out negativity. Ruth Bader, the second female U.S. Supreme Court Justice, recently published an article in which she explained how she has been so successful in a male-driven world. One piece of advice she offers is that “it helps sometimes to be a little deaf.” She explains that when a thoughtless or unkind word is spoken, it’s best to tune it out because reacting in anger or annoyance will not advance one’s ability to persuade. I couldn’t agree more with Ruth. No matter how far you make it your career, there will always be someone who is convinced you don’t belong there. Rather than telling them why you do, let this serve as motivation to climb even higher.
- Take action. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard female colleagues complain that they are never given the opportunity to be in a position of authority. Yet, when industry organizations are seeking volunteer speakers or representatives, they are not the first to volunteer. If you want to be respected, you must put yourself in a position that demands respect. Volunteer. Be responsive. Put yourself out there. Let the world know that you will be taken seriously.
It is not easy, but nothing good ever is.
My hope today is that every woman, at every stage in her career, will adopt this mindset of empowerment. Let’s empower each other. Passing on opportunities (that may not be right for us, in the moment) to other competent, capable women allows us to empower them, which puts us in a position of power as well. Let’s teach the next generation that they need not be defined by gender disparities in the workplace, but rather their talent and willingness to succeed. Let’s effectively advocate for ourselves, take risks, and take action.
‘Tis the season of flashing lights, jingle bells, and long lines of little ones waiting to sit on Santa’s lap. For some children, this holiday scene is a dream come true—but for those who have autism, the sensory overload can be too much to bear. That’s why Jordan Search Consultants was so delighted to partner with the Thompson Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders this year in offering “sensory friendly” visits with Santa for families affected by autism.
The first annual Santa in St. Louis event was held at Mercy Kids Autism Center and gave individuals with autism and their families the opportunity to visit with Santa without having to endure loud, long lines. Extra care was taken to support the sensory, physical, and other developmental needs of the children so they could enjoy this holiday tradition. As a sponsor, the JSC team had the honor of shopping for personalized gifts for each child and their siblings, and providing food and beverages for the event. The children also received a CD of photos from their visit, courtesy of our partner, marketing and communications firm Arco + Associates, so they can look back on the special memory for years to come.
While it filled us with joy to give back to such deserving families, the most heartwarming part of the day was experiencing the bliss that each family felt as they entered the room. Many of the parents expected to leave with only candid photos, assuming a traditional picture on Santa’s knee might make their child uncomfortable. Instead, almost every family was pleasantly surprised to enter the room and see their child run straight to Santa with glee. The experience was overwhelmingly positive for everyone involved. We are so proud to be a part of the St. Louis healthcare community and look forward to continuing to embrace the families that make our community so wonderfully diverse.
Jordan Search Consultants provides superior professionalism and diplomacy in tackling difficult executive and physician searches. Knowing that you have experts working on your behalf in such a dynamic industry is very reassuring.
We are able to attract good people who in turn do good work that gets recognized. Jordan Search Consultants has been essential to this, and I believe we have a relationship that is built on more than business. JSC knows who we are and, because of that, we trust their judgement.
Our mission is to build quality teams that have an impact on the communities they serve for our client organizations. We do this by providing professional, responsive and collaborative service to ensure the best possible recruitment outcomes.
After talking with several leading recruitment firms about growing our medical group by 50%, Jordan Search Consultants was the only one to truly listen, understand our unique needs, and develop an effective solution. Together, we were able to not only recruit 24 providers within 6 months, but also to significantly reduce our recruiting costs. Their ability to adjust staffing, specialty focus, and monthly pricing allowed us the flexibility we needed to meet our ever-changing needs. Having a reliable recruiting partner has allowed our health system to reach strategic goals far ahead of schedule.
After trying unsuccessfully with three other recruiting firms for several years to fill a specific practice position, Jordan Search Consultants was recommended to us. From the outset, it was clear that we had found a recruiter who could perform. Almost immediately we had not one, but two highly-qualified, viable candidates. JSC’s ability to represent us professionally and clearly define our opportunity to prospective candidates was a critical factor in the successful recruitment. I recommend Jordan Search Consultants to any organization looking for a reliable recruitment partner to assist them in maintaining a competitive edge.
I’ve worked with Regina Levison and Jordan Search Consultants first in a hospital setting and then in my current IPA position. We needed physician recruitment assistance that would be affordable for our group practices and they developed a cost-effective candidate sourcing solution that serves our member groups well. The candidates they find are very qualified and motivated to consider the opportunities our groups have to offer. Jordan Search Consultants really embraces a pay-it-forward attitude. They win when you win. I can’t recommend them highly enough.
Our experience with Jordan Search Consultants has been very positive with A+ results. We have very specific, specialized positions and we needed to partner with a firm that not only understood the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry but also our unique business model. JSC has surpassed our expectations and met the challenge to identify quality candidates that matched our specified criteria. Meeting our strategic goals is critical and they operated with a sense of urgency and persistence while at the same time consulting with us regarding industry trends and expectations. If you are looking for an executive search firm to assist with your critical searches and represent you in a professional manner, I highly recommend Jordan Search Consultants.
The candidate sourcing concept was new to our group and generated great candidates. The search consultant from Jordan Search who managed our project was readily available and we received monthly updates on the status of the search. Candidate sourcing has been very helpful since none of our physicians or staff have the time to do this the way it should be done.
Ms. Levison was qualified by the court as an expert physician and executive recruiter without objection. She established an instant rapport with the jury. Her testimony was convincing and virtually unchallenged.
Matt Jordan was honest and easy to work with; I would definitely consider a candidate from Jordan Search Consultants’ Career Placement Solutions in the future.