261928 Community Health Centers and male vs. female patterns of mentorship and succession planning: The meaning of the differences

Monday, October 29, 2012

Walter Jones, PhD , Department of Healthcare Leadership and Management, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC
Latecia Abraham, DHA(c), MHA , Library Science and Informatics Department, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC
Thomas Smith, PhD , Center for Academic Excellence, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC
Nancy Bracken, DHA , Management Consultant (Self-employed), Pawleys Island, SC
Currently, despite health administrative career advances, a significantly smaller proportion of women than men currently serve as upper-level health administrators. It has been suggested that one major reason for this disparity is the relative lack of mentors and succession planning for female administrative candidates. However, in contrast to many other health administration fields, females in Community Health Centers (CHCs) have rapidly moved into senior leadership positions. This study investigates the extent to which the success of women in attaining CHC leadership is related to a greater presence of mentorship and succession programs in those organizations. A validated e-mail survey was adapted and administered to a nationwide sample of CHC Executive Directors, with 85 responses analyzed using a variety of non-parametric statistical measures. In addition, four male and four female Directors were interviewed in depth via telephone interviews. Male/female differences concerning mentorship and succession planning availability were statistically modest, but it was found that women in CHCs are in fact more likely to receive formal and informal mentorship than men CHC executives. The biggest obstacle to female advancement in CHCs may instead be the problems faced in attaining and maintaining a work/life balance. The data show that men and women in CHCs respond similarly with respect to questions about gender equity and bias. The research results provide a nuanced picture of the varying ways in which women discover and use a range of strategies, including mentorship and succession plans, to eradicate organizational barriers to advancement.

Learning Areas:
Administration, management, leadership
Diversity and culture

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify male vs. female differences in mentorship and succession planning in Community Health Centers 2. Analyze the extent to which leadership diversity in health administration might be advanced by adopting common Community Health Center mentoring and succession plan practices

Keywords: Community Health Centers, Leadership

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the primary researcher on my topic as a doctoral student at MUSC. The topic is my dissertation for the DHA program.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.