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AHLA Announces Adoption of an IDEA Action Plan

  • October, 21, 2021

AHLA announces the adoption of an inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility (IDEA) Action Plan, as part of AHLA’s 2019-2022 Strategic Plan. Pillars of the plan include communications, culture, volunteer/leadership pipeline, and community, and include specific action steps AHLA will take towards increasing inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility within AHLA and the broader health law community.

“The IDEA Action Plan and its associated goals establish a roadmap for AHLA’s journey to becoming a more resilient organization,” comments David C. Cade, AHLA’s Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer, “Through its execution, we are accomplishing our strategic priorities, including developing and maintaining a diverse and inclusive membership.”

“With a clear and transparent path forward and associated goals and timelines, AHLA has reaffirmed its commitment to IDEA,” adds Kerry B. Hoggard, AHLA’s Vice President of Membership, “I’m proud to be a member of an Association turning their words into concrete action and I look forward to engaging the membership in the execution of this plan.”

IDEA Pillar: Communications

1. Integrate IDEA content into existing internal communications and channels, continually highlighting leadership’s commitment.

  • Communicate new discrimination/ harassment policy (code of conduct).*
  • Share insights and Action Plan examples with Board; recommend revisions to the Statement of Commitment to Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility.*
  • Prepare and present Action Plan to the Membership-IDEA Committee.*
  • Share Action Plan with and regularly update AHLA staff and leadership.
  • Prepare and share full Insights Report, along with information about IDEA pillars and Action Plan with Board and non-board leaders.
  • Host a membership Town Hall to review the IDEA Action Plan and annual report.
  • Continue to provide updates about Action Plan and measurements at Board meetings.
  • Update Board Orientation Manual.

2. Integrate IDEA content into existing external communications and channels.

  • Incorporate IDEA into existing member communications plan and external communications (e.g., continuing press releases, posting IDEA statement to website).*
  • Provide update to AHLA donors via the Quarterly Donor Newsletter on IDEA initiatives.*
  • Establish internal resource that explains financial hardship guidance and process across the Association.
  • Spotlight members across multiple dimensions of diversity especially around race, LGBTQ+ and persons with disabilities (e.g., in Health Law Connections magazine).
  • Workgroup on Issuing Board Statements makes a recommendation to the Governance Committee who finalizes a recommendation to Board of Directors related to AHLA public statements about IDEA issues.

3. Launch DEI baseline survey for members based on DEI foundational engagement survey and institute pulse surveys for leadership.

  • Create baseline survey for membership based on DEI foundational engagement survey, and then incorporate DEI pulse questions into bi-annual membership survey.*
  • Decide on cadence of surveys and questions.*
  • Incorporate baseline survey results into Action Plan to measure changes.*
  • Review data and share results with Board of Directors.*
  • Include insights as part of membership Town Hall on IDEA Action Plan and Annual Report.
  • Include DEI questions to environmental scan and Strategic Planning survey.

IDEA Pillar: Culture

1. Create DEI training/programming calendar, building on foundation from earlier trainings.

  • Create IDEA starter content one-pager.*
  • Develop a Celebration Months and Holiday Calendar for AHLA.*
  • Create training calendar for FY22 focusing on inclusive language, disability, talent/pipeline/leadership development.
  • Share training calendar with Board and members.
  • Determine what training can be provided to members.
  • Update calendar for 2022.
  • Update board orientation to include IDEA.

2. Create network groups, especially around disability, LGBTQ+, and racial diversity.

  • Formalize groups and purpose (i.e., more informal networking for members and their allies to be able to share resources and create belonging.)*
  • Communicate to membership.
  • Review network engagement and decide if more formal networking groups are needed.
  • Add accessibility statement to the website, letting folks know how to request accommodations. [isn’t this there?]
  • Share expectation that harassment, discrimination, and bias not tolerated.
  • Examine accessibility to educational content and programming and website.
  • Provide mentorship opportunities and create webcasts/opportunities to learn about pathways.

3. Component Workgroup of the Practice Groups and Special Councils Committee (PGSC) and staff to evaluate content-generating Groups’ structure, purpose, and advance recommendations about how best to meet members’ needs.

  • Share output reports with leadership groups and monitor progress.*
  • Environmental assessment (competitor assessment).*
  • Internal discussion on environmental assessment.*
  • Provide annual assessment/review of Groups.
  • Evaluate Practice and Affinity Group, Task Force, Council, Committee content-generating group structure.
  • Present to the PGSC.
  • Present to the Board of Directors.

4. Create awards program and mitigate bias in the nomination and selection process.

  • Planning for establishment of an awards and recognition program.*
  • Initial staff discussion with awards program consultant.*
  • Facilitated discussion with staff/Membership-IDEA Committee and focus groups with key stakeholders.*
  • Program design and development (parameters, criteria, award administration, recognition timeframe, etc.).
  • Committee review of Program.
  • Board review of the Program.
  • Program launch and implementation.

IDEA Pillar: Volunteer/Leadership Pipeline

1. Gain demographic data from at least 75% of members to better understand baseline.

  • Begin including demographic data upon new member onboarding.*
  • Share demographic data on quarterly basis with Membership-IDEA Committee.*
  • Work with developer on DRS Portal to capture demographic data.*
  • Monthly campaign to those who do not have demographic information.
  • Share demographic data on annual basis with AHLA leadership.
  • Campaign to solicit demographic data from neutrals (cross check against CRM prior to outreach).

2. Refine and clarify the pathway to leadership within AHLA so that leadership is reflective of membership.

  • Review criteria and nominating process documentation and make revisions.*
  • TDM to work with Governance Committee on 2022 Board and PED selection process.*
  • Increase transparency for Fellows’ selection criteria and process and increase data collected for the FCC. Share with FCC.*
  • Establish process for volunteer opportunities.
  • Communicate updated leadership criteria/pathways, highlighting that all candidates will need to complete an application through the call for leaders’ channel.
  • Include IDEA characteristics as “ideal” for volunteer leadership positions.
  • Assess working knowledge of IDEA principles for volunteer applicants.
  • Review and revise D&I Toolkit components.

IDEA Pillar: Community

1. Create calendar of events that open to membership/public and highlight IDEA.

  • Develop a Celebration Months and Holiday Calendar for AHLA.*
  • Produce/monitor substantive IDEA content item per year.*
  • Regular outreach to Specialty Bars and HBCUs to include their events on our calendar of events.
  • Regularly highlight IDEA related events, e.g., roundtable on disability, convener on health inequities), health law week, annual meeting, etc.

2. Gather information about steps in-house legal departments are taking to advance IDEA.

  • Find opportunities to extend our DEI resources to the full community (e.g., discounts for TDM training).
  • Create and distribute survey to in-house counsel.
  • Share best practices about IDEA initiatives with the membership and other stakeholder groups.

*These items of the IDEA plan have been completed.

Components of the IDEA Action Plan will be woven into the fabric of AHLA’s next Strategic Plan.

Learn more about the IDEA Action Plan by listening to AHLA's Annual Report Town Hall, where we also review AHLA’s annual report and recent member IDEA survey results.