Faculty at City University of New York Hunter College and members of the New York State Action Coalition came together June 30 to host a healthcare workforce diversity panel that was filmed on location at the college. The panel, consisting of representation from academia, patient advocacy, hospital, professional organizations and community health, discussed challenges minorities face in the healthcare workforce and as patients.
Barbara Glickstein, MS, MPH, RN, member of tactical support and operations of the coalition and co-director/co-founder of the Center for Health and Public Policy at Hunter College, moderated the discussion.
The New York State Action Coalition is committed to increasing diversity in the nursing and healthcare workforce, faculty, and leadership, Glickstein said. This rich conversation is critical to advancing and reducing health disparities and advancing the health of every person who lives in this country. We focused mainly on New York State so that most of our answers were directed to what we know is in fact happening in the NYS area.
Panelists included AIDS activist and patient advocate Robert Suttle, assistant director of the SeroProject; Helen C. Ballestas, ANP-BC, PhD, RN, Long Island chapter president, National Association of Hispanic Nurses; Kenya Beard, GNP-BC, NP-C, ACNP-BC, RN, EdD, assistant professor, Hunter-Belleveue School of Nursing, Hunter College, and director of the Center for Multicultural Education and Health Disparities, Hunter-Bellevue; Vivian Torres-Suarez, BSN, MBA, RN, vice president, children and family services, Visiting Nurse Service of New York; and Carla Boutin Foster, MD, associate professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College and associate director of Weill Cornells Center for Multicultural and Minority Health.
Each panel member was chosen from a different area of healthcare to create a well-rounded discussion about health disparities. The New York State Action Coalition hosted the panel in collaboration with Hunter-Bellevue. The idea for the event came about during a lunch between Beard, who also serves as leader of the coalitions diversity team, and Lucia Alfano, RN, MA, co-chairwoman of tactical support and operations.
We decided to collaborate on a project, a video, a discussion, that could report to our public about the need for diversifying not only our profession, but throughout the healthcare industry, Alfano said.
New York is making progress, Beard said. However, there is still progress to be made. When we think about healthcare disparities, we know that, especially in New York, they still exist.
Information on the full 55-minute video, Diversifying the Healthcare Workforce in NYS, is available by contacting the group via Facebook.com/nysactioncoalition.
Tracey Boyd is a regional reporter.