Racial and Gender Discrimination in Hospital Senior Management

Stethoscopes hanging in an exam room

Professor of Practice Robert Coulam and Associate Professor Gary Gaumer continue their long-standing econometric research on inequity in management opportunities in U.S. hospitals, using data from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). In 2009, they published an initial paper* on racial inequity in hospital management. With additional funding support from Simmons** they are now able to study discrimination using new EEOC data that reports gender and race for all hospital managers and for senior managers, separately.

The research uses data on all U.S. hospitals from 2008 to 2014, a period of substantial consolidation (mergers, closure) in the hospital industry, reducing the number of senior managers by about 10% over the period of study. The work examines the extent to which observed representation of minorities and women on the senior management teams in hospitals is related to trends over time, to the demographics in the hospital market area, and to the characteristics of the hospital. Comparisons are drawn with other groups of hospital workers like mid-level managers, professionals, and all hospital workers.   

Initial findings suggest that unlike mid-level managers, professionals, and all hospital workers, the opportunities for minorities on the senior management teams of hospitals are not influenced by the demographics of the labor market facing the hospital – including characteristics often associated with merit, such as the relative number of minorities with bachelor’s degrees. The 2008-2014 trends in senior management opportunities for women have been declining relative to men, and even more for minority women.

Coulam and Gaumer intend to produce two publishable papers, one reporting the findings on race and the second reporting the findings on gender.

*Gary Gaumer and Robert F. Coulam, “Geographic Variation in Minority Participation in Hospital Management in the United States,” Hospital Topics 87:2 (Spring 2009).

**$10,000 award from the Fund for Faculty Excellence, 7/2015 - 6/2016, to analyze racial diversity in senior management of hospitals; and $2,400 from the Fund for Research, 7/1/2017- 7/1/2018, to extend the earlier work into issues of gender diversity.