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February 01, 2021

Health Law Connections

First Reflections—Education as One of Your Racism and Injustice “Fitness” Resolutions

  • February 01, 2021
  • Jim Flynn , Chair, Education Committee

Calendar turning often brings revived efforts at resolutions and commitments to change. If you resolve to lose weight, you change your diet and exercise more. If you resolve to stay on top of your emails, you adopt new tricks and techniques for conquering the daily inbox barrage. If you resolve to fight through the disconnectedness of gathering restrictions and remote work environments, you find new ways to connect with family, friends, and colleagues. Consider resolving to tone up your muscles used to recognize and combat racism and injustice through education.

Like few years before it, 2020 was a call to each of us, as individuals, to do our part to combat the effects of systemic racism, social injustice, racial and gender inequity, and explicit and implicit bias. These persistent problems broadly permeate our society. Even the horrific events at the U.S. Capitol on January 6 graphically illustrated this point. Besides being an unprecedented attack on our democracy, the handling and reactions of that riot as it was unfolding looked dramatically different than the reactions to the protests to the George Floyd murder. We were once again reminded of how much work still lies ahead for all of us.

Broad societal and professional problems can be too easily dismissed as bigger than one individual can overcome. If, however, each of us “got in better shape,” and prompted our friends, family, and colleagues to do the same, we could make progress toward meaningful change. Your AHLA membership, and the accompanying educational resources it affords, can be part of your educational fitness plan. Indeed, AHLA opportunities and offerings extend far beyond Stark Law updates and HIPAA enforcement trends.

To illustrate some of the ways (though this is certainly a non-exhaustive list) that AHLA affords its members opportunities to broaden their personal and professional development, here are some past (still available through on-demand recordings or other access points) and future offerings:

  • Feature Article in Health Law Weekly entitled, “Law as a Social Determinant of Health and the Pursuit of Health Justice” (August 21, 2020)
  • Robust panel discussion presented by the Women’s Leadership Council entitled, “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Health Law Bar: Intentional Partnerships” (December 3, 2020)
  • Podcast entitled, “Racial Disparities in Health Care” (August 21, 2020)
  • Webinar entitled, “Diversity in the Health Care Workforce and Taking Stock of the Legal Risks After COVID-19” (February 9, 2021)
  • Sessions at the virtual Physicians and Hospitals Law Institute program entitled, “Social Determinants of Health and COVID-19: What is the Fraud and Abuse Landscape Now?” and “Preventing Sex Discrimination in Health Care under Section 1557 of the ACA: A Review of Litigation and Best Practices” (February 10-12, 2021)

AHLA is also in the late stages of development of a new publicly-available “health law hub” around racial disparities in health care—look for that announcement coming soon.

The commitment to develop and deliver important content to the broader health law professional community comes from multiple sources. Foremost is an experienced and savvy team of staff members at AHLA. Volunteer members of AHLA, including volunteers from practice groups, task forces, and leadership councils, work throughout the year planning and delivering various written and live presentations of content. Volunteer Board members comprising the Education Committee provide a strategic governance and oversight angle.

Busy professionals face constant pressure to prioritize and choose how to spend their time. A resolution requires intentionality, discipline, and prioritization if it is going to have any chance of success. No matter where you may be on the spectrum of knowledge and awareness of racism, bias, and social justice issues, 2021 is a good year to commit to investing in improvement of yourself. Finding a suitable medium and topic from AHLA’s vast educational offerings can be a valuable step toward honoring that commitment. Then, spread the word to others and give hope to the prospects for change.