Significant gender and racial disparities are evident when comparing the composition of the U.S. healthcare workforce to the general U.S. population. Latinx individuals are underrepresented across all professions, while non-White individuals and women are occupational minorities in executive roles and in physician, surgeon, and advanced practitioner roles. Lack of diversity poses problems for underrepresented healthcare professionals, their organizations, and their patients. While diverse professionals experience various forms of microaggression, discrimination, prejudice, and diminished sense of belonging in their fields, these conditions can compromise communication among the various healthcare professionals involved with a patient, in turn, potentially threatening patient safety and diminishing the quality of care. Supervisors’ behaviors affect the organization individually and collectively. Therefore, supervisors play central roles in whether an underrepresented individual feels a sense of belonging. This study investigated the impact of supervisor listening behaviors on diverse healthcare professionals’ sense of inclusion. Data gathering occurred via semi-structured interviews with 14 physicians, advanced practitioners, or leadership-level individuals who are occupational minorities in their profession working and living in the United States. Participants were asked about their experiences of inclusion and lack of inclusion, the contributors to those experiences, and the role supervisors’ behaviors, specifically listening behaviors, in those experiences. Study data were reviewed using content analysis. Study data were reviewed using content analysis. Study findings indicated that critical supervisory behaviors for enhancing inclusion among occupational minorities are seeking to understand and engage subordinates and actively supporting subordinates’ development. Person-centered listening was found to improve inclusion through a variety of intrapersonal, interpersonal, team, and organization-level impacts. Based on these findings, organizations are advised to create and deliver person-centered listening based cultural sensitivity and inclusiveness training and to institute accountability and enforcement measures to ensure that inclusion is actively and deliberately achieved.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Minorities in medicine--United States; Supervisors--United States--Medical personnel; Leadership--Medical personnel

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

June Schmieder-Ramirez

Included in

Education Commons