The healthcare system in America lacks diversity when it comes to its leaders, especially appointing Black women to these senior-level positions.

To remedy this, Mount Sinai Health System has announced the launch of a first-of-its-kind mentoring program aimed at increasing the recruitment and elevation of Black women to executive roles.

Black Women Leaders Connect — a first-of-its-kind initiative uplifting the next generation of leaders within Mount Sinai and in the healthcare community — was launched by Mount Sinai’s Office for Diversity and Inclusion.

The group has made it a point to create more space for Black women leaders in healthcare to make new connections and support one another. The overall goal is to help these women become role models and mentors in the organization, and ultimately drive change within the executive space.

“Several years ago, I realized that many of our Black women leaders across the system did not know one another. From the sheer desire to make connections, ODI started hosting small gatherings after work for senior Black women at the VP administrative level. There were only a few of us at the time. We have since grown in numbers and continue to expand the group to women in leadership roles across the system. Ultimately, our goal is to position ourselves as the role models, mentors, coaches and support for Black women across the organization and within our communities,” Pamela Abner — MPA, CPXP, VP and Chief Diversity Operations Officer for the Mount Sinai Hospitals Group — shared in a statement. “By providing mentorship, coaching and encouragement for Black women throughout their career journeys within and beyond Mount Sinai, we are building a network of support and expanding our voice in the organization. Through these efforts, our partnerships within and outside the health system, we seek to increase representation of Black women at the administrative leadership level at Mount Sinai.”

According to a press release, the group has outlined five innovative affirmations — including leveraging their leadership roles, working with organizations committed to anti-racism, participating in more research for Black and minority health, supporting Black-owned businesses, and sharing petitions — to help them stand in their purpose and restructure the healthcare industry for Black women.

“The lack of diversity we see at the board and executive level in health care presents an opportunity, driving change from within our organization,” LeWanza M. Harris — MD, MPH, VP of Quality and Regulatory Affairs for the Mount Sinai Health System — said in a statement. “If we have a seat at the table where decisions are made, we will benefit the communities we serve. Our aim is to close the gap in Black women role models in all industries and sectors, and break the cycle of underrepresentation.”

For more information about Mount Sinai and Black Women Leaders Connect, click here.