Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Daniele Lyman-Torres, EdD

Second Supervisor

Nancy J. Williams, EdD


This qualitative, interpretive phenomenological study aimed to explore the lived experiences of six African American women in healthcare leadership. It reveals how they identify with race and gender as intersecting identities with their perceptions of their impact on patient experiences and outcomes. The six African American women healthcare executives all worked in Central New York State. The primary sources used to collect data were interviews and journal entries. This gave validity to the research that was done. The data analysis process was conducted based on the interpretation of the researcher. Four themes emerged from the analysis: (a) being the only one is exhausting, (b) unsupportive culture for advancement, (c) mentors and sponsors are valuable, and (d) mastering cultural intelligence.

This study found that all of the African American women healthcare executive participants dealt with feelings of invisibility, isolation, ostracization, unappreciation, not being included, and purposely discriminated against in their workspaces, and they used multiple approaches in navigating the barriers of racism, gender mistreatment, bias, stereotypes, and microaggressions. This study also discovered that an increase in the number of African American healthcare professionals employed in healthcare facilities improved rapport, empathy, and understanding, which may contribute to positive patient experiences and outcomes. Additionally, this research obtained firsthand information about the lived experiences of the African American women healthcare executive participants as they related to race and gender with an aim to contribute to the healthcare and human resources fields regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion literature, and leadership studies while laying a foundation for future research and a framework of recommendations for various healthcare organizational audiences.

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