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Stephanie Neuvirth

Senior Vice President of People & Organization, Banfield Pet Hospital

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Building Synergies and Creating Momentum to Transform the Future Healthcare Workforce

02/01/2015 11:28AM | 8501 views

The objective we face in healthcare today is: How do we create a workforce to mirror the population we serve and deliver more culturally competent care? How do we develop a relationship and engage a community to support our efforts? How do we create a bigger more sustainable impact than a single organization could create on its own?

Through synergy!

Synergies are the interactions or cooperation of two or more organizations to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate parts. In short, 1+1 equals more than 2.

A conversation began a year ago when we connected scientists, clinicians, patient advocates, community practitioners, diversity experts and human resources professionals. We then added other prominent neighboring healthcare organizations, higher education and K-12 school administrators and educators. This conversation, facilitated by Glenn Llopis and the Center for Hispanic Leadership (CHL), sparked a rallying cry and a commitment to address the need for a more diverse healthcare workforce for the future.

We believe and stand firm that the answer for our future lies in the need to attract more elementary, middle and high school students into the sciences and retain their interest by showing them role models who already exist, while educating their parents on the opportunities. It isn’t every day that organizations collaborate; yet, we know that our best chance to change the future will require a community to work together, to focus in an authentic and consistent way, and to engage the very populations we wish to impact.

At City of Hope, we believe we can develop a more culturally sensitive healthcare workforce and are implementing programs to ensure we are doing just that. We are also working to build stronger patient advocacy and support groups and have made educating the community a priority.  

But the opportunities go much deeper; that is, how do we build sustainable long term solutions to advance science and health to meet the population demographics? We need to attract more diverse talent, from a younger age, into the sciences.  We know that the demographic shift is here. We know the diversity of our demographics will continue to grow. We know that the healthcare industry is already one of the largest U.S. industry segments today and more future growth is projected. We know cures for diverse populations will likely come from those who can appreciate that we live in an age of personalized medicine and genetics and therefore, cultural lifestyle matters.

At City of Hope, we engaged in five new initiatives over the past year to help build synergies and create momentum:

1)    December 2, 2013. Thought Leadership Event – an introduction to a conversation by healthcare, community and academic stakeholders who agreed to collaborate on solutions to build a more diverse pipeline of future healthcare and biomedical workers. Six work streams were launched, facilitated by CHL.

2)    January 2014. Co-launched Healthy Hispanic Living – a collaborative digital magazine focused on the health and well-being of the Hispanic community. Co-launched with CHL.

3)    September 2014. Launch of the TEACH Project – a collaboration with Duarte Schools and Citrus College, modeled after IBM’ s P-TECH program, launched in the fall to elongate the time kids are in high school to help them work towards a degree in Health Information IT.

4)    September 18, 2014. Healthcare Career Expo – a single day event targeted to help parents and their children explore and pursue future careers in healthcare. More than 1000 parents and students participated with over 30 collaborative partners and hospital and academic partners. Watch the video of the Diversity Health Care Career Expo at City of Hope.

5)    November 5, 2014. Healthcare Diversity Summit – a full day event focused on advancing the future of diversity in healthcare and biomedical research hosted at City of Hope, and sponsored by the California Diversity Council. Individuals from more than 30 organizations participated in a variety of breakout sessions – ending with the Big Idea Generator on how to address the need for more diverse talent in the industry.

Our goal now is to continue building synergies to transform the future of healthcare, as we carry the momentum we have created forward into the New Year and beyond.

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