Diversity in leadership leads to measurable business benefits for health care organizations, according to professionals who responded to a recent survey produced by Witt/Kieffer in partnership with the American Hospital Association's Institute for Diversity in Health Management, Asian Health Care Leaders Association, National Association of Health Services Executives and the National Forum for Latino Healthcare Executives.

Respondents see diverse leadership as a valuable business builder and associate it with improved patient satisfaction (62 percent); successful decision-making (58 percent); reaching strategic goals (55 percent); improved clinical outcomes (46 percent); and a stronger bottom line (39 percent).

More than half the respondents agree that the pool of diverse candidates for leadership has grown over the last five years, but only 38 percent perceive the same growth within their own organizations. In fact, only one-quarter report that minority executives are well-represented in their organization's management teams. Minority respondents identified a lack of commitment from top management and lack of serious consideration of diversity candidates as the main barriers to success.

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