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Dimensions of Diversity

Diversity encompasses both primary and secondary dimensions. The table below lists some of the diversity characteristics through which all of us process stimuli and information. The way we view these characteristics leads to the perceptions that we make about the others and their behaviors, which can affect our own behaviors in response.

Primary dimensions are also known as internal dimensions. These include aspects of diversity over which, typically, we have no control. This dimension houses the majority of divisions between and among individuals of a healthcare team. Therefore, they are the core of this course and of many diversity exercises developed for many different workplace environments. These aspects are those which we notice immediately in other individuals and from which we develop many of the perceptions and prejudices in our minds.

Secondary dimensions are also known as external dimensions. These include facets of our lives which we have some control over and may transition over time. These aspects are those which may impact the careers we choose and our workplace behaviors. This dimension also impacts who we choose to build friendships and relationships with.

Primary Dimensions Secondary Dimensions
Gender Education
Age Work Experience
Race Appearance
Abilities/Disabilities Religion
Ethnic Heritage Income
Sexual Orientation Language


Organizational Role

Political Beliefs

Recreational / Personal Habits