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Hispanic Heritage Month: How to prioritize and champion cultural diversity in healthcare

This Hispanic Heritage Month, Press Ganey is proud to honor the cultures and contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans in healthcare. Hispanic Heritage Month marks the anniversary of the independence of eight Latin American nations: Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Mexico, Belize, and Chile. From September 15 through October 15, we take the time to recognize and celebrate the contributions of Americans who come from—or whose ancestors came from—Mexico, Spain, and Central and South America.

We can also take this time to reflect on what the industry can do better. As a person of Hispanic heritage, I deeply understand the importance of diversity and inclusion within the workforce, especially in healthcare. Latinos make up 16% of support roles in healthcare and just 8% of practitioner roles. These numbers aren’t high enough. Accelerating Hispanic and Latino professionals’ success requires organizations to look beyond hiring practices—and show intentionality. More simply put, organizations must reinforce diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace by actively supporting Hispanic professionals—helping them achieve career goals and advance in the industry.

We have an opportunity to acknowledge—and combat—the challenges Hispanic and Latino employees face in corporate America, from culture shock to microaggressions and worse. We must help healthcare organizations overcome common workforce issues and build an inclusive environment where all employees can flourish.

8 ways healthcare organizations can support employees from Hispanic and Latino communities 

Meaningful change starts by ensuring that Hispanic employees feel valued, supported, and championed. Simply hosting culturally inspired events might be well intended, but it doesn’t go far enough. To improve the working environment for Hispanic and Latino employees, healthcare organizations can spearhead inclusion efforts that actually make a difference.

  1. Pay employees fairly. Salaries should reflect your employees’ experience and talents.
  2. Commit to hiring a diverse workforce that accurately reflects the makeup of your immediate community as well as our country.
  3. Organize support groups within your organization that can help new and mid-career employees access tenured employees who can mentor them and help them develop in their careers.
  4. Find employee sponsors who can advocate for promotions. This is a great way to start helping Hispanic and Latino employees showcase their talent, be celebrated for their contributions, and lift their confidence.
  5. Hire Hispanic and Latino HR professionals.
  6. Provide a peer point of contact to coach self-advocacy in the workplace.
  7. Offer courses on unconscious bias to help all employees recognize their peers' challenges.
  8. Use workplace polls and employee surveys to identify inequitable social dynamics in certain teams, departments, and leadership.

Hispanics and Latinos have the fastest growth of any ethnic group in post-secondary education enrollment and completion. And due to this increase of Latinos receiving degrees, more are prepared to join the U.S. workforce: Latino labor force participation is the highest of any group and is expected to jump 3% each year. We need to create opportunities for Latinos to move into well-paying jobs in the healthcare field to fully benefit from their academic achievements.

During Hispanic Heritage Month, my hope is that eyes are being opened to the value people of Hispanic heritage bring to any healthcare organization. I urge you to examine and to prioritize diversity in your hiring process—while also highlighting the outstanding work and achievements of your current employees of Hispanic and Latino decent.

So let’s pledge to go further. We must confront structural barriers and longstanding inequities—and enable institutional transformation.

Press Ganey remains committed to ensuring equity in healthcare. Our Equity Partnership provides tools and resources to address disparities and the impact of inequities on patients and caregivers. Learn more about our Equity Partnership here.