Distribution: Diversity Symposium

Edition: November 2010 - Vol 18 Number 11
Article#: 3579
Author: Repertoire

Nearly 300 participants from 22 states gathered in Richmond, Va., in September to talk about diversity practices in the healthcare supply chain. The fifth annual Healthcare Supplier Diversity Symposium was sponsored by Owens & Minor in conjunction with the National Association of Health Services Executives, the Healthcare Supplier Diversity Alliance, and the Virginia Minority Supplier Development Council.

The theme, “From Inclusion to Partnership: Shaping a New Era in Supplier Diversity,” was intended to help providers, manufacturers, distributors and GPO executives explore ways to move diversity suppliers beyond mere inclusion, to greater utilization in the supply chain.

“We’re looking to shape a new era and not use the same old supplier diversity practices of the past,” said Angela Wilkes, director of supplier diversity for Owens & Minor. “We’ll focus on the developing partnerships between minority and women’s business enterprises (MWBEs) and corporations, while allowing corporations to help design opportunities based on what their needs are.”

Symposium participants networked with purchasing decision-makers from a number of hospital systems, including Kaiser, the University of Virginia Medical Center, the University of Maryland Medical Center, Novant Health, and a number of group purchasing organizations. Workshop topics included “Leveraging women and minority organizations,” “Navigating the healthcare supply chain,” and “Leveraging Procurement Technical Assistance Centers.” PTACs are a network of colleges, government offices and other organizations designed to help small companies compete successfully for federal, state and local government contracts.

Keynote speaker Marc Morial, president and chief executive officer of the National Urban League (and former mayor of New Orleans) expressed his view that small businesses will be the catalyst to pull the United States out of its current financial doldrums.