- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Ron Mitchell says the American medical industry could benefit from having more women and people of color in executive suites.

The Chicago-area entrepreneur and CEO of the Humanity Health advocacy group on Wednesday announced a new venture aimed at creating a networked pipeline of women and minority candidates who can be fast-tracked to health-care leadership positions.

Mr. Mitchell, who is Black, said the new Humanity Talent Network “is an opportunity to remake the industry by creating a talent pipeline that reflects the diversity of America.”

“By providing these leaders with the relationships, tools, and information they need to accelerate their careers, we can transform the entire healthcare ecosystem,” he said in a statement.

The networking group will use virtual meetings, investor introductions and speaking engagements as part of a diversity, equity and inclusion strategy to advance the careers of women and minority senior corporate leaders.

The company said it will provide a service to its employer partners in the industry by offering “better and more inclusive placement outcomes.”

Press materials from the group cited a 2021 McKinsey and Company report that women hold 28% of C-suite positions in health systems. In 2020, people of color made up 21% of executive teams and 24% of biotechnology CEOs.

Reaction among some conservatives to the placement service’s rollout was skeptical.

“It’s fascinating that when these elites see a disparity in numbers for minorities in their company, the first thing that comes to mind is ‘let me help the poor little minorities because they can’t help themselves,’” said Quisha King, a Florida-based political consultant and parental rights activist.

“The last thing we need in health care is placement based on exterior qualifications rather than skill,” added Ms. King, who is Black.

But the Humanity Talent Network arrives as racial justice advocates have increasingly cited the underrepresentation of Black health care professionals as a sign of bias.

Sara Clarke Kaplan, executive director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University, said White dominance of health care roles has led to Black Americans being “routinely undertreated for pain” and to Black maternal mortality rates being three times higher than the national average.

“To deny systemic racism in medical health care requires ignoring the facts,” Ms. Kaplan told The Washington Times in an email.

Tanya Clemons, a former chief talent officer at Pfizer affiliated with the new Humanity Talent Network, said it’s “much more than a diversity program.”

“Historically, diverse and women leaders have not had the same level of visibility, sponsorship and support in their journey to the C-suite,” she said in a statement.

But Gregory Quinlan, a former registered nurse who leads the conservative Center for Garden State Families in New Jersey, rejected that premise.

“I worked with Asian, black, white, Hispanic, and American Indian nurses, as well as the subcontinent of India including physicians, lab techs, etc., and the idea that healthcare in the United States of America in 2022 is systemically racist is utterly completely false,” Mr. Quinlan told The Times.

• Sean Salai can be reached at ssalai@washingtontimes.com.

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