Sheila Talton Adresses Diversity Issues in C-Suite Positions and What Can be Changed

April 5, 2021
Briana Contreras

In this first of three-part video interview series, MHE spoke with founder and CEO of Gray Matter Analytics. In the discussion, Sheila addressed the topic of how healthcare organizations are missing out by not actively expanding their efforts to seek out and fast track talented individuals across many minority populations, especially in the c-suite.

Below is a short Q&A of the interview with Shiela:

Q: What is the issue in healthcare regarding diversity in C-Suite positions?

A: In my opinion, the healthcare systems both payer and providers do not represent the patients and or members that they serve. I mean that from a gender perspective, as well as from ethnic perspective. When you look at, especially for a health system, many of the caregivers and clinicians are females, and are people of color, yet when you get up to the C-Suite, that tends to thin out quite a quite a bit. So, not at all representative of those people who are in the mid-tier, as well as the clinicians who are delivering care.

Unfortunately, those people who are making those decisions tend to hire people who look like them. So, most of the CEOs and health systems, as well as in health plans, they tend to be white males and therefore they're hiring in their own image.

Q: What should health organizations be looking for when hiring someone of color?

A: Well, first of all, it really starts with their respective boards and their board should be putting those incentives in place for senior management to be looking at hiring diverse talent, gender and ethnic. So that's the first thing. Secondly, then, they should be looking at who are we actually promoting and bringing up and giving more broader responsibilities so that they are prepared when the time comes for succession planning to be included in that pool of people who could be successors to the CFO, to the chief medical officer to the CEO. Right now, that's not happening.