CAHME-Accredited Programs Represent “Beauty and Strength” of Diversity 07/22/2019

Anthony Stanowski, DHA, FACHE

CAHME programs produce an annual report to demonstrate how they fulfill their mission and meet the requirements of accreditation. This information is required by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and has the added advantage of enabling programs to benchmark their progress.

These annual reports provide a fascinating insight into many aspects of CAHME-accredited programs. As just one example, programs provide data on the diversity of their student body. CAHME’s accreditation Criteria IIA2 states that programs “will have recruiting practices and well-defined admission criteria designed to recruit and admit qualified students and to pursue a diverse student population as reflected in the Program’s mission-defined market.” For the 2017/18 academic year, CAHME programs reported the following ethnic breakdown of students: White or Caucasian: 58.9%; Asian: 17.6%; Black or African-American: 12.6%; Hispanic: 9.9%; Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander: 0.7%; Native American: 0.3%.

The chart below illustrates racial and ethnic diversity percentages for most CAHME programs. The overall average is 41 percent.

Figure 1: CAHME Accredited Programs, 2017 – 2018, Percent Enrolled Students from Racial/Ethnic Minorities by Reporting Program. (Excludes programs from Canada and Puerto Rico. Ten programs did not report. Overall percentage based on total enrollment for all programs.)

Diversity in developing the next generation of healthcare leaders is not just a crucial issue but, to paraphrase the writer Maya Angelou, represents both “beauty and strength.” Diverse healthcare leadership produces more innovative ideas and emphasizes inclusion in decision-making. Equally important, it helps ensure that future healthcare leadership reflects the increasing diversity of American society. This feature of leadership will be increasingly important, especially as health systems tackle cultural competence and issues around the social determinants of health. 

“You can’t manage what you don’t measure” is a familiar aphorism in the business world. By asking programs to report on the diversity of their enrollment, CAHME’s accreditation requirements acknowledge the important impact of diversity and its contribution to increasing the pool of diverse healthcare leaders and advancing the quality of healthcare management education. 

Anthony Stanowski, DHA, FACHE
President & CEO