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The pandemic fully exposed existing and longstanding inequities in the US healthcare system based on factors such as race, gender, and socioeconomic status: Black people died at 1.4 times the rate of white people during the pandemic; they suffered 178 deaths per 100,000 people, while that was 172 for American Indian or Alaska Native, and 154 for Hispanic and Latino people, compared to 124 white deaths per 100,000.
While there myriad reasons for those results, one of them is certainly a lack of diversity in healthcare leadership: a 2015 study from the AHA Institute for Diversity and Health Equity found that while minorities made up 32% of patients, they held 11% of executive leadership positions at hospitals, which was actually down from 12% in 2013.
"Improving representation of leadership to more accurately reflect the communities an organization serves not only improves innovation within the organization, but it also improves health equity and ultimately outcomes for patients," said Ron Mitchell, co-founder and CEO of Humanity Health, a career acceleration and talent sourcing platform for underrepresented leaders in healthcare and life sciences, which announced a $6 million seed round of funding on Monday.
The issues facing women and people of color in these industries are multifaceted and complex, he said, noting that "few companies have built the necessary programming to create a truly inclusive environment that fosters equitable growth and development among employees."
"Unfortunately, there is no level playing field when it comes to career advancement, and everything from unconscious bias against a candidate for a new position or promotion to institutionalized discrimination within an organization can impact an individual’s career. These impacts compound over time, as a lack of opportunity early in one’s career creates a vicious cycle in which higher level opportunities are kept out of reach," said Mitchell.
The company developed the Humanity Talent Network to address these issues, creating a network dedicated specifically to the career advancement of leaders from underrepresented groups through programming centered the unique needs faced by women and people of color as they seek to advance in their careers.
HTN members can access features such as curated opportunities, in which they receive career accelerating opportunities and introductions that are curated to their preferences and expertise. Opportunities include board positions, executive roles, speaking engagements, consulting opportunities, and investor introductions.
They also get access to a Executive Career Strategist who helps them navigate and develop career acceleration plans for their career transitions; collectives, which are small, curated group forums of subject matter experts engaging with each other around professional, healthcare-related and scientific subject matter; career studios, which are led by experts in the field and which prepare HTN members to achieve the next step in their careers; and the Career Resource Center, which contains tools and resources members need to position themselves for professional growth.
"Through the Humanity Talent Network, our private membership network for underrepresented leaders in these industries, we’re creating executive development programming that enables these individuals to reach the next level in their careers and creating a system through which employers can make meaningful connections with new potential talent," said Mitchell.
In addition to its members, Humanity Health also works directly with companies in the healthcare and life sciences industries; they get access to search offerings targeted to organizations seeking to fill highly specialized, confidential, or critical leadership talent needs; candidate panels, which are an alternative to retained search that delivers three to five detailed candidate profiles for a specific role; and a subscription-based offering that enables partners to engage with candidates earlier in the cycle to build more authentic long-term relationships.
"For Partners, Humanity Health offers a suite of services that enable our partners to identify, engage, recruit and develop diverse talent in healthcare and life sciences. In addition to traditional executive search services, Humanity Health enables our partners to engage with high-potential diverse candidates earlier in the cycle to build more authentic long-term relationships," Mitchell said.
The HTN network launched in May of this year, and it currently has approximately 600 individuals have been screened and invited into the network. The majority of members are in already in leadership positions: 41% are in the C-Suite and 25% are at a Vice President, Senior Vice President or Head of Department level. Its membership is evenly split between those who identify as men and women, while they are 45% Black or African American, 18% white, 17% Asian, 8% Latinx, and 5% Middle Eastern.
Humanity currently has 40 company partners, including Evergreen Nephrology.
The new round of funding was led by Jumpstart Nova along with participation from Deerfield Management, which provided the company's $3 million seed round. Humanity Health plans to use the money to expand its programming and experience for both its partners and members.
"This fundraise allows us to develop more of our Collective experience for our members, and to begin to deliver more meaningful and impactful connections to these curated groups. We’ll also be able to invest in our pipeline engagement offering for our partners," Mitchell said.
Finally, we’ll be using this investment to expand on some key hires for the company that will enable us to deliver the best possible product and experience to our members and partners."
While Humanity Health has a focus on diversity and inclusion, he also reiterated that its goal is not to become the best platform for women and people of color, but to become the premier executive recruitment and executive development solution in healthcare and life sciences for all of the best candidates, no matter their race or gender.
"Our clients require us to deliver to them diverse slates of candidates, which includes white men. We just approach our work with an lens of diversity, equity and inclusion. I don’t think you can be the best, if you don’t approach the work with that lens."
(Image source: humanityhealth.net)
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