Moving the Needle to Diversify Health Tech

There is a dire need for the health tech workforce to keep pace with the changing racial makeup of the nation.  According to  the Pew Research Center study,  from 1960 to 2010, the percentages of Americans identifying themselves as Black, Hispanic, Asian, or “other” increased from just 15 percent of the population to 36 percent of the population:

  •       Black: Increased from 10 to 12 percent
  •       Hispanic: Increased from 4 to 15 percent
  •       Asian: increased from 1 to 5 percent
  •       “Other”: Increased from 0 to 3 percent

We live in a country whose racial makeup grows to be more diverse every day, however, the  nation’s tech workforce does not reflect the diversity of the nation in the least bit.  To dig deeper, the nation’s health tech workforce is no better in terms of its diversity and inclusion of minorities. While other tech companies may be able to get by with a certain racial makeup, it’s extremely necessary for the health tech industry to not follow this pattern mainly because of the diverse customers that these tech products are being made for: patients.  

Health 2.0 rolled out the first Diversity in Health Tech Mentorship program, TECHquality, earlier this year. Right now, there is an open applications for Mentors and Mentees for the second round of the mentorship program. Mentees must self-identify as part of an underrepresented group of health tech. This can range from people of color, women, seniors, people with disabilities, LGBTQ, etc. Mentors are individuals who have expertise in health tech and are dedicated to increasing diversity and supporting inclusion in tech.

We believe that increasing the number of role models for minorities and creating opportunities for mentorship and job growth will help to alleviate the disparities that we see in the health tech industry today.

We don’t want this to be just another diversity initiative that calls the lack of diversity and inclusion of minorities to light and fades away.  What we really want is action.  We hope for this initiative to push the needle forward and impact the health tech industry as it continues to grow and impact an array of patient lives.  Diversity is reflected in the millions of patient lives we hope to change through health tech, so why don’t our workplaces?

There are a few ways to get involved check them all out here.

Sabah Pervez and Alyx Sternlicht are Senior Program Managers at Catalyst @ Health 2.0.

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4 replies »

  1. Above we can call technologists, which in some cases we can

    Based on my informal research which has consisted primarily of wandering around during the break at Health 2.0 conferences, health tech’s diversity numbers are way better than techs ..

  2. Hmmm …

    What is the male / female breakdown among doctors / specialists?

    I haven’t had a male doctor in at least ten years ..

    And what does diversity even mean?

    Do Indian doctors not count?

  3. You are saying that you want patients to get the benefit of providers who have different races. Why not different body mass indices? or types of personalities? or immigration statuses? or athleticism? or political ideas? or social classes? or medical training styles [e.g. allopathic vs osteopathic vs homeopathic] or IQs?

    Surely these identities are just as fundamental classifiers as are the minuscule and few genes used to classify races…and would allow patients the full range of benefits from being exposed to true diversity, not just melanin and race diversity.