Diversity in Healthcare Settings: An Exploratory Study Using State of Ohio Licensed Social Worker Staff Perspectives on the Diversity of Staffing

Date of Award

Fall 2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Healthcare Administration (DHA)

Committee Chair

Jesse Florang

Committee Member

Tonia Young-Babb

Committee Member

Gail Frankle


Starr (2022) shared the definition of people of color as being “the social category people of color has been born twice from the mixing of peoples in the United States" (pg.1). When looking at people of color as it relates to the healthcare industry, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) (2022) reported that “the current health care workforce does not reflect the nation’s diversity; people of color represent more than 25% of the total population, but only 10% of health professionals” (p.26). For the purposes of this study, the research will focus on the State of Ohio’s licensed Social Work community, where the social work healthcare workforce’s Caucasian social work population is approximately 83% and the minority and ethnic social work population combined is approximately 17%, per the Counselor Social Work Board’s data set (B. Carnahan, personal communication, October 3, 2022). Minority staffing percentages, based on recorded population statistics, continue to reflect that healthcare’s diversity of staffing outcomes continue to be low compared to Caucasian representation, according to the United States (U.S.) Bureau of Labor Statistics (2018). The research demonstrates significant historical and current healthcare hiring and retention disparities when it comes to America’s allied healthcare professionals. Cohen et al. (2014) contended that if the U.S. did not have a wide variety of people that belonged to various racial and ethnic groups, let alone the that these groups are rapidly diversifying, then diversity within health care’s workforce would be moot. This study aims to explore employee perceptions related to racial workplace diversity based on staff perceptions of their workplace climate.