Looking out at a room of 13 freshmen from the Mercy High Women in Medicine Program, Chief Quality Officer Tonii Geden said, "Diversity in health care is important—it makes a huge difference in how we move forward." We see 10,000 people a year, all from different walks of life, making a staff full of diverse identities, backgrounds and experiences critical.
This particular panel, and annual visit from Mercy High, focused on why having women in leadership is so important for the future of health care.
So why come to Health Care for the Homeless for this discussion? Currently, over 78% of our 259-person staff identifies as female. That's 201 women lending their unique expertise and experiences to our daily work. This representation carries into leadership roles, too. Of our 31 chiefs, directors and vice presidents, 74% are women, and of our 36 managers and supervisors, 72% are women. That puts us ahead of the curve, considering a 2017 study of large hospitals that showed women making up just 32% of hospital executive teams.
After a welcome, Fallsway clinic tour, and donation of three boxes full of hygiene products, gloves and hats, the students finished the day with nine inspiring staff members, like Tonii, who shared their insights and experiences in getting to the positions they now hold here at Health Care for the Homeless. Below is some of the advice they gave to the next generation of medical leaders:
"Honor yourself, honor what you like and give yourself permission to fail."
Deirdre Hoey, Behavioral Health Therapist
"Don't let others discourage you from what you want to do."
Tonii Gedin, Chief Quality Officer
"You can literally do anything. The sooner you realize that, the more opportunities you'll have"
Catherine Fowler, Population Health Nurse
"Be a little selfish - take any opportunity presented to you, even if it's outside of your job description."
Maria Martins-Evora, Chief Administrative Officer
"Allow yourself to be human. You get one chance in life, go use that chance."
Aisha Darby, Director of Clinic Operations
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