Factors Relating to Underrepresentation of Black American Women in Health Care Administration

Alquietta Lavayle Brown, Walden University


There is a low representation of Black American women (BAW) in health care senior leadership. With the high level of health problems found among the Black community, diversifying the executive leadership with BAW may be instrumental in increasing provider trust and reducing discriminatory action. Using critical race theory as the conceptual framework, this study examined the experiences, perceptions, and influential or deterrent factors inhibiting advancement of BAW in the health care field. Inquiry centered on factors related to lack of advancement, experiences at different stages of career progression, and strategies impacting career advancement. A qualitative research design using a transcendental phenomenological approach was the chosen method. Seven BAW who met the criteria for inclusion were selected by purposive sampling. Data were collected from semi-structured, audio-recorded, interviews using a newly created protocol. Data analysis included open coding; line-by-line data review; and the use of NVivo to search for frequencies of themes, coding, and text queries. Emergent themes were identified that provided comprehensive descriptions of the participants' experiences. According to study findings, perceived and experienced racial issues were apparent in hiring and work relations. Disparate practices were evident through a lack of inclusion in succession planning, being overlooked despite qualifications, and stereotyping. These findings may stimulate social change by helping those BAW aspiring for senior healthcare leadership to be more successful and by improving health outcomes for BAW through enhanced trust.