Collins was among 10 Black healthcare leaders recognized for commitment to equity, inclusion, diversity and access by a national online magazine for medical professionals.
By Michelle Ryan
Chad Collins is no stranger to making lists, and the director of operations at USA Health recently landed on another one.
Scrubs Magazine, an online news resource for medical professionals, named Collins to the 10 Black Healthcare Leaders Making a Difference in 2023, citing his work to improve the healthcare system as a champion of equity, inclusion, diversity and access. The list was compiled to honor Black History Month by “shining a spotlight on the groundbreaking contributions of 10 healthcare professionals,” according to the online publication.
He joined colleagues from Florida, Illinois, Missouri, Nevada, New York, Tennessee, Texas and Washington who were credited with being an example to diversify not only the field of medicine, but also its leadership.
Together, Collins said, it their responsibility to improve the relationship between the Black community and the U.S. healthcare system.
“Representation matters. Being a Black healthcare leader affords the opportunity to represent and be a voice for a community that has been and continues to be underrepresented,” he said. “When you think about the Black experience with healthcare in America, the distrust and stigmas that stem from experiments like the Tuskegee Study further exacerbate health inequities due to prolonged waits to seek health services.”
The Tuskegee Study, a syphilis research experiment that began in 1932 and spanned 40 years, used hundreds of Black men with low incomes as test subjects. Researchers provided no informed consent, and those who were infected with syphilis didn’t know they were putting their lives at risk by participating in in the study, that they weren’t receiving treatment, or that they could be spreading it to their sexual partners.
Leading the charge to build trust in the healthcare system is a big undertaking, and it’s done one day at a time, according to Collins.
“We are doing this daily, incrementally, by listening to the community complaints, analyzing the community need and supporting or driving initiatives to address health disparities,” he said.
Prioritizing diversity benefits underserved communities to help remove barriers to care, and it also is important for leadership in a health system, Collins said.
“A diverse leadership team provides a unique and empathetic understanding of cultural differences that impact health outcomes and the overall experience with the healthcare system,” he said. “In addition, diversity helps to promote and establish trust, build community relations, improve the quality of the workplace and drive innovation.”
A recent survey from the Chartis Group and the National Association of Health Services Executives shows increases in the number of Black leaders in C-suite positions, including CEO, and diversity and equity roles.
“Increasing the number of Black providers, managers and healthcare executives can help make the industry more inclusive for patients of all backgrounds,” according to the magazine, which debuted in 2009.
In addition to the Scrubs Magazine list, Collins has been named to the 2022 Becker’s Hospital Review’s 75 Black Healthcare Leaders to Know and the 2022 Mobile Bay Magazine's 40 Under 40.