Creating a more Diverse and Equitable Workforce – NCIOM Annual Meeting

Blog | December 22, 2022


“Creating a more Diverse and Equitable Workforce,” a breakout session at the 2022 NCIOM Annual Meeting, highlighted the importance of workforce diversity, as well as promising practices currently being implemented to advance the diversification of North Carolina’s health care workforce. The panel was moderated by NCIOM Project Director Khristian Curry. Panelists included:

  • Dawn Daly Mack, RN, Registered Nurse and ACO Care Coordinator, Rural Health Group
  • Cedric Bright, MD, Vice Dean for Medical Education and Admissions, Professor of Internal Medicine, Brody School of Medicine, East Carolina University
  • Pamela McCue, PhD, RN, Chief Executive Officer, Nurses Middle College Network of Schools
  • Carmen Canales, MLIR, Senior Vice President, Chief People & Belonging Officer, Novant Health

The panel discussion explored ideas related to the social and economic advantages of prioritizing workforce diversity, developing inclusive work environments that support the health and well-being of the workforce, and pathway development. Panelists drew from their own experiences and shared strategies and current practices. Highlights from the discussion included:

  • Workforce diversification contributes to current efforts to reduce health disparities among racial and ethnic groups. In doing so, not only do we improve the overall health of North Carolina, but we also reduce the economic costs associated with health disparities.
  • We have a promising group of people from younger generations who are enthusiastic about entering into the health care workforce. There is great opportunity to create supportive work environments that prioritize the health and well-being of individuals by providing culturally appropriate resources and promoting behaviors that reflect the culture shift necessary to sustain the workforce.
  • Regarding opportunities for pathway development for a more diverse and equitable workforce, Dawn Daly Mack shared the quote, “Talent is equally shared; opportunity is not.” Panelists emphasized the importance of creating opportunities for historically underrepresented groups to discover and enter into health care professions.

Panelists shared recruitment and retention strategies that educators and employers can implement to advance workforce diversity. Examples of these practices include adopting staffing models that allow staff to be paid a livable wage, offering wellness programs, workplace training, transparency and shared decision-making in policy, diversifying recruitment teams, and simplifying recruitment processes.

This panel discussion explored topics closely related to the article “Developing Health Care Faculty to Address the Needs of North Carolina’s Diverse Populations,” featured in the November/December 2022 issue of The North Carolina Medical Journal.