Diversity and Inclusion in Healthcare

In light of February marking Black History Month and Pride Month, we want to take a moment to talk about the importance of diversity and inclusion in our industry.   

When no two patients are the same it is highly important that healthcare teams continue to be established with diverse individuals. Diversity in a workplace means having a workforce constructed of people from multiple races, ethnicities, genders, ages and orientations. 

Representation within staff will directly contribute to the way patients are treated. A diverse team will have a wider understanding of the main characteristics of healthcare diversity. Some of these characteristics include having a wider knowledge of religion, education, political views, physical disabilities, language, culture and more.  This will help to ensure that no matter what individual comes in looking for care there will be staff that can contribute to better serving their individual needs.   



In 2019, Kantar surveyed 18,000 people in 14 countries working in 24 different industries to produce a global Inclusion Index. The aim of the index was to mark a global standard towards achieving equality and inclusive ways of working. Health and Pharmaceuticals industry ranked highest on the inclusion industry index, mostly due to results showing that gender representation at senior level in the industry was split equally.  

This may be seen as a win in our industry but there is still a long long way to go. Let's take a look at some healthcare stats from diverse lenses. 



There are many angles to approach the discussion around the issues of racial diversity in healthcare.  

Workforce: The American Community Survey conducted a study in 2019 that looked at racial/ethnic representation in the US healthcare workforce. The findings are based on the results of 150m US individuals who work or are searching for work in a variety of healthcare occupations. The findings concluded that Black, Hispanic and Native American people were highly underrepresented in all occupations analysed. However, the educational pipeline compared to the current workforce indicated some improvement in diversity. Again, this shows we have a long way to go even if change is on the horizon.  

Medical Representation: Racial disparities are highly existent when it comes to accessibility, delivery and quality of healthcare. For example, clinical images are central to plastic surgery, but the lack of variety in imagery within the literature is implicit in racial disparity. A study exploring patient representation in medical literature conducted on 6 plastic surgery medical journals from over 2 decades analyzed 24,209 color photographs and only 22% of photographs show nonwhite skin. This shows a clear lack of diversity in representation and failure to represent the patient population accurately in medical journals.  



Our research for stats on LGBTQ+ representation in global healthcare workforces showed limited findings. The focal point of research seems to be on the patient side. The largest-ever study conducted on transgender and non-conforming people in the US in 2010 showed key findings that indicated lack of provider knowledge, a whopping 50% of the sample reported they had to teach their medical providers about transgender care. 28% said they had experienced harassment in healthcare settings and a staggering 41% of respondents reported attempting suicide compared to 1.6% of the general population.   

The stigma and discrimination that patients face in healthcare settings are vastly different from region to region. Statistically, all healthcare providers will work with and treat patients that are part of the LGBTQ+ community. This shows the vital need for awareness and education on all-inclusive language as a start.   



Research conducted by World Health Organization (WHO) in 2019 on healthcare workers across 104 countries highlighted that women form 70% of workers in the sector. Although the research found steady improvements in female representation in the highly paid health occupations since 2001, it also discovered that an average gender pay gap of 28% exists in the health workforce. The report showed that even though the sector performs well in regards to women participation, there is still a lot of gender inequalities that need addressing.  


These are just some points of diversities in healthcare, it is highly important that the industry continues to work towards equality and inclusion on all levels. Not only to ensure employee wellbeing but a wider understanding of patient backgrounds and circumstances will lead to better care. 

At Celo, we strive to contribute to achieving a higher industry standard of inclusivity. Our all-inclusive platform is used by healthcare teams worldwide to deliver world-class care.