This research examines diversity on boards and in senior management of health care institutions in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
In this eighth report of the DiverseCity Counts series examining diversity in senior leadership positions in the GTA, the focus is on health care institutions. Specifically, the author looks at local health integration networks (LHINs), hospitals, and community care
access centres (CCACs).
Along with hospitals, LHINs and CCACs play critical roles in health care in Ontario. LHINs plan, coordinate and fund local health systems, with the aim of making it easier for patients to access health care. CCACs coordinate health care in patients’ homes and in the community as well as access to long-term care homes.
While past reports have focused on visible minorities, this edition broadens the scope of diversity to include sex/gender identity, visible minorities, disability, and sexual orientation.
DiverseCity Counts has looked at visible minority representation in seven sectors in the GTA since 2009. It has focused on the municipalities with the highest proportions of visible minorities: Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Markham and Richmond Hill.
While some sectors have made progress over the years, as a whole, visible minorities remain under-represented in the leadership of the GTA.
Health care leadership is diverse in some respects, but many groups are under-represented
Five LHINs, 28 hospitals and five CCACs in the GTA were surveyed:
Diverse leadership is critical for the health care sector
Senior management teams and governance boards in health care institutions play a critical role in setting mandates and priorities, and shaping services to help meet the needs of patients and providers alike. It is this leadership, for example, that has the influence
and authority to recognize and acknowledge needs, approve systemic changes, and prioritize and commit the resources necessary to respond.
Physical and mental health is a fundamental part of individual, family and community well-being. Good health enhances our ability to be productive and engaged participants in economic, social and political life.
Furthermore, virtually all members of society come into contact with the health care system at some point in their lives. For most of us, health care services are one of a few public services that we use throughout our lives, from birth to death.
Perhaps for these reasons, Canadians are fiercely proud of our public health care system. Access to high quality public health care has become a fundamental Canadian value. It is therefore incumbent on our health care institutions to reflect the public in their services, in their decision-making, and throughout their organizations. In fact, leading health care institutions are doing just that.
These leading institutions recognize the importance of understanding and responding to the diversity of their patients. They have innovated and adapted their services to meet the needs of patients in various demographic groups – for example, by providing
multilingual and/or culturally appropriate services. Similarly, many recognize the benefits of diversity among their staff, and have made great progress in hiring and integrating diverse employees into their institutions.
Increasingly, health institutions are turning their attention to diversity in their leadership – that is, in senior management and on the governing boards of these organizations. Leadership in health care institutions plays a critical role in setting mandates and
priorities, and shaping services to help meet the needs of patients and providers alike. It is the leadership, for example, that has the influence and authority to recognize and acknowledge needs, approve systemic changes, and prioritize and commit the resources necessary to respond.
The authors provide 10 tips to maximize the benefits of diversity: