Are you a professional advocate for women leadership and influence in health care? If you are a member of the Women’s Health Leadership TRUST, you are part of a coalition of professionals working to lift up women in the industry. Our work as an association for supporting women leaders in health care has continually been recognized as a unique state asset and has now been acknowledged nationally in a recent issue of Modern Healthcare.
In the Modern Healthcare commentary, also featured on the TRUST website, publisher Fawn Lopez asks whether the health care industry has done all it can to achieve authentic gender equity, diversity and inclusion. She highlights four organizations boldly working to make a difference in the lives of women in health care, including the TRUST.
As Lopez notes, “We must put our money where our values are. Women deserve more opportunities to take on profit-and-loss responsibilities and make decisions about enterprise-wide investments. Why not focus our business or clinical partnerships or investments on organizations that champion the recruitment and promotion of women?”
This is an honorable moment for the TRUST to be recognized for its work spanning nearly 40 years! And we agree with Lopez when she states “there is a long way to go.” We have much work to do to open pathways for women in health care leadership and to increase inclusivity and diversity in its many forms throughout the industry.
Although the number of women on boards has risen, women still only occupy 18 percent of board seats among the 3,000 largest publicly traded companies and just 4 percent of boards are chaired by a woman according to Fortune. In the health care industry, women now represent one-third of hospital executives, yet only 4 percent of health care CEOs are female, reports Rock Health. Women VP or above roles tend to be in human resources, legal and marketing functions while far less are likely to be in technology or operations according to Rock Health.
These statistics demonstrate why the TRUST aims to continue to advance the careers of women in health care. We still need a coalition of professional allies to share advice and collaborate on new opportunities. We need the TRUST to advance one another and support each other when appropriate.
Throughout our professional lives we meet numerous individuals who become acquaintances. These relationships are very common and often consist of people from our day-to-day lives, such as people we meet at a conference or coworkers outside of our departments. Though we seldom interact with acquaintances, these relationships are important to the framework of our overall networks. Rarer — and more rewarding — are the few connections who transform into true professional supporters.
Sustaining relationships to build a network of professional allies takes intent, commitment and a nurturing spirit. I hope you will share your energy with other health care professionals. The TRUST is committed to building a stronger coalition to further our mission to support women leaders in health care. There is a long way to go — the determination of the 500+ TRUST members welcomes the opportunities for transformation as we co-create the future.
Connie White Delaney currently serves as TRUST President, and Professor and Dean at the School of Nursing at the University of Minnesota. Delaney holds degrees in nursing and mathematics, adult health nursing, educational administration, and informatics. Delaney’s work is expanding connections, collaborations, integrative informatics, and social structures which advance co-discovery of solutions that transform health and education systems.