Here's How Mount Sinai Health System is Building a Pipeline for Diverse Talent Acquisition

Diversity is a hot topic for anyone working in a field responsible for personnel acquisition and retention, and Mount Sinai Health System is building its own diverse talent pipeline to avoid a homogeneous workforce.

Mount Sinai Health System was originally founded as "The Jews' Hospital" in 1855. Nearly ten years later, in 1864, the company took the decision to become non-sectarian, and changed its name to The Mount Sinai Hospital in 1866 to indicate this. In 1881, the company established itself as an educational center by opening a training school for nurses. In 1963, Mount Sinai opened the first medical school not to be grown out of a university with The Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

Today, Mount Sinai Health System is one of the biggest charitable organizations in the US and employs over 1,500 people. The company has revenues of $6.6 billion and holds the #29 spot on Forbes' list of the 100 Largest US Charities.

Diverse Talent Pipeline

The world has changed a great deal over the last few years, and companies are starting to understand the many benefits for themselves, their workforce, and society, which can come from increasing the opportunities made available to previously marginalized groups. Whether these groups have been separated from mainstream society along lines of gender, sexuality, ethnicity, culture, creed, or something else, the whole world benefits from a more equal playing field.

Mount Sinai Health System is looking to meet these challenges with its Office for Diversity and Inclusion, in which its talent pipeline program was created. During the summer of 2017, Mount Sinai Health System hosted and supported 34 interns who were all working towards careers in healthcare administration. A mixture of high school, college, and graduate students, from an intentionally diverse range of backgrounds, were giving practical, on-the-job experience in many areas of healthcare, including medicine, patient experience, real estate services, IT, and LGBT health.

"This year marked the second year of our IT Talent Pipeline Program for high school juniors and the launch of a new, structured experience for all our interns," says Shana Dacon, Assistant Director of Mount Sinai Health System's Office for Diversity and Inclusion. "Our programs continue to expand, and interns came from a diverse set of backgrounds and experiences, including Jim Arbalaez, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who interned in Mount Sinai West's Environmental Health & Safety Department."

The project was considered a success, with participants reporting they valued the time spent at the facility. "I'm inspired to be a lifelong learner," said Adetokunbo Oseni, a master's degree candidate at George Mason University, in Fairfax, Virginia, of his experience. "I've learned it is OK not to know everything - as long as you are comfortable asking questions and are willing to learn."


Another way Mount Sinai is striving to develop new opportunities for previously marginalized groups is through its partnership with East Harlem-based non-profit agency STRIVE - an organization that provides skills training, certification, and job placement assistance to the area's young adults.

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In partnership with Mount Sinai Health System, STRIVE runs 12-week programs designed to assist its members in finding job placements, and prepare them for employment within the healthcare industry.

Speaking of when she first attended the STRIVE program Valerie Orellana, Vice President of Talent Acquisition and HR Operations at Mount Sinai Health System, said, "I recognized from that moment on that there was a job for every single person in the community to be at Mount Sinai. You don't have to be a doctor, you don't have to be a nurse, you don't have to be a clinician. We have actors who perform at the Morchand Centre for Mount Sinai medical students to practice on. We have jobs for teachers, for those in finance, for engineers and mechanics. You name a title and there is a position here for that person. It's really a great privilege to be a part of Mount Sinai."

Final Thoughts

Society can only benefit from a fairer and more diverse outlook. This is not only limited to public life, but also in every industry on the planet. Different people, from varied backgrounds, with a range of life experiences, can only result in better ideas and innovations moving forwards.

The final word goes to Valerie Orellana.

"Patients like to be taken care of by people that understand them. We look to hire folks that match the patients."

You can hear Mount Sinai Health System's Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer for the Office for Diversity & Inclusion, Pamela Abner, speak at HR Healthcare 2018 this August at the Rancho Bernardo Inn, San Diego, CA.

Download the agenda today for more information and insights.

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