Perceptions of workplace climate and diversity, equity, and inclusion within health services and policy research

Tongtan Chantarat, Taylor B. Rogers, Carmen R. Mitchell, Michelle J. Ko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objective: To describe the perception of professional climate in health services and policy research (HSPR) and efforts to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the HSPR workforce and workplaces. Data Source: We administered the HSPR Workplace Culture Survey online to health services and policy researchers. Study Design: Our survey examined participants' sociodemographic, educational, and professional backgrounds, their perception on DEI in HSPR, experience with DEI initiatives, feeling of inclusion, and direct and witnessed experiences of discrimination at their institutions/organizations. We calculated sample proportions of responses by gender identity, sexual orientation, race/ethnicity, and disability status and compared them with Fisher's exact test. Data Collection: We administered the survey online from July 28 to September 4, 2020. HSPR professionals and trainees aged 18 and older were eligible to participate. Analyses used complete cases only (n = 906; 70.6% completion rate). Principal Findings: 53.4% of the participants did not believe that the current workforce reflects the diversity of communities impacted by HSPR. Although most participants have witnessed various DEI initiatives at their institutions/organizations, nearly 40% characterized these initiatives as “tokenistic.” Larger proportions of participants who identified as female, LGBQI+, underrepresented racial/ethnic groups, and those with a disability held this perception than their male, heterosexual, White, and non-disabled counterparts. Current DEI initiatives focused on “planning” activities (e.g., convening task forces) rather than “implementation” activities (e.g., establishing mentoring or network programs). 43.7% of the participants felt supported on their career development, while female, Black, Hispanic/Latino, LGBQI+ participants and those with a disability experienced discrimination at their workplace. Conclusions: Despite an increasing commitment to increasing the diversity of the HSPR workforce and improving equity and inclusion in the HSPR workplace, our results suggest that there is more work to be done to achieve such goals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)314-324
Number of pages11
JournalHealth services research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $3,791,026 with 0% financed with non‐governmental sources. The contents are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of HRSA, HHS, or the US government. For more information, please visit The authors also expressed our gratitude to Margo Edmunds and Angélica Rodríguez at AcademyHealth for their assistance on participant recruitment and publicity of this study to AcademyHealth members, Ninez Ponce and the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research for their guidance and other logistical support, and our peers at the University of Minnesota, the UCLA Center for the Study of Racism, Social Justice & Health, and the University of Louisville, who provided thoughtful feedback on the survey instrument. Last, the authors thank all study participants for their time and for sharing thoughtful input for this study.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. Health Services Research published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Health Research and Educational Trust.


  • discrimination
  • diversity
  • equity
  • inclusion
  • structural racism
  • workforce
  • workplace culture

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.


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