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Impact Stories

A Cornerstone for Innovation and Member-Centric Offerings

Kirk Dobbins

Kirk's transition into health law stemmed from clinical experience and a passion for health care, starting as a chemistry major and later pursuing law after discovering the field during clinical research. AHLA has served as his professional hub since law school, offering networking and resources that advanced his career, facilitating insights and connections for improved client outcomes.

“AHLA has been a cornerstone in my career, offering a professional home, fostering growth, and providing necessary tools to navigate the complex world of health law. Over my 30 years of experience, AHLA's commitment to innovation and member-centric offerings empowered me to advise my clients effectively amid the industry's ever-evolving challenges. I’m continually impressed with the caliber of content and opportunities AHLA offers its members, contributing to the growth, leadership, and professional connections that enhance health care outcomes in this ever-evolving industry.” Kirk Dobbins, Vice President and Regional Counsel, Keiser Permanente

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Steppingstones to Career Success

Jeff Wurzburg

Jeff’s professional journey was tied with AHLA from the very beginning. AHLA’s mentoring program afforded him opportunities to engage with industry experts who guided his path. In his view, every interaction he has had with AHLA members has enhanced his understanding of health law, providing the solid grounding he needed to become a trusted source for other professionals.

“AHLA has been a constant companion on my professional journey, offering invaluable opportunities to interact with industry leaders and access substantive and timely resources. AHLA has fostered profound relationships that transcend professional connections, transforming colleagues into lifelong friends and trusted confidants who help me navigate evolving health law policies and daily challenges.” Jeff Wurzburg, Senior Counsel, Norton Rose Fulbright

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A Wellspring of Knowledge, Springboarding Career Growth

Ari Markenson

Ari volunteers as a member of AHLA’s Board of Directors and is optimistic about the future of AHLA. After years of volunteering at AHLA as a leader, he is constantly impressed with AHLA’s unwavering commitment to its members through reliable educational content and networking opportunities for all. He looks forward to AHLA's ongoing commitment to fostering diverse connections and nurturing the next generation of leaders, ensuring collective advancements in health care with a lasting impact.

“One aspect close to my heart is AHLA's unwavering support for newcomers. Whether these new members are starting out as new associates or professionals making a career change, AHLA supplies educational content and networking opportunities that provides new members the footing they need to succeed.” Ari Markenson, Partner, Venable

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Building a Foundation of Excellence

Trish Markus

For Trish, AHLA remains more than just a professional community; it is a welcoming environment where she can pose challenging questions, find camaraderie, and engage with a diverse membership. The organization's commitment to fostering a collegial atmosphere ensures that Trish, and others like her, can actively contribute to and benefit from a rich exchange of ideas within the dynamic realm of health law.

“AHLA has always been a place where health law professionals can learn about current developments in health law from interactions with attendees and from experts in the field who graciously offer their time to speak about these critical topics. AHLA will continue to be a welcoming community for those who want to ask difficult questions and find comradery among a diverse, collegial membership.” Patricia A. Markus, Partner, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough

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Navigating the Ever-Changing Landscape with AHLA

Emily Cook

Emily helps clients in the health care regulatory and reimbursement space. She became a member of AHLA as a law student and took full advantage of the many opportunities that AHLA offers to students for free. Now, almost 15 years later, she uses AHLA’s resources to help her identify trends and patterns that can help her clients understand the complex laws that arise in health care. She encourages all young professionals to get involved at AHLA to get exposure to important aspects of the industry.

“I have been involved with AHLA since I was a law student, accessing AHLA's resources, programs, and offerings for free until I graduated. This offering gives students such an advantage, lending them exposure to concepts and changes that are going on in the health law space while providing a foundation for them to hit the ground running if they decide to practice health law.” Emily Cook, Partner, McDermott Will & Emery

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Innovating the Future of Health Law

Jennifer Hutchens

As an out-of-the-box health law leader, Jennifer enjoys finding new and innovative ways to improve health care systems for all. One of her favorite aspects of AHLA membership is meeting with professionals across the health law ecosystem to improve her understanding of the field and encouraging younger generation associates to roll up their sleeves and get involved in this impactful industry.  

“AHLA offers boundless opportunities to network and learn from others across the nation. There are so many AHLA members who are innovative, entrepreneurial, and cutting-edge professionals. My membership at AHLA has given me a true sense of community and access to industry experts facing similar health law challenges. Linking up with these consultants and members has profoundly influenced my practice and has made me a better lawyer.” Jennifer Hutchens, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner 

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Utilizing AHLA Educational Resources in Everyday Legal Work

Kristen Dagher

Kristen was an AHLA extern in 2022 and currently works at a personal injury firm in Miami. While she is not entirely sure where her career will take her, she hopes to be an advocate for women’s health by influencing policy work and lobbying for reproductive health law. As an AHLA member, Kristen has taken advantage of the many resources and educational opportunities rendered to members and uses that information as a reference for all her legal work.  

“AHLA offers an incredible number of resources to members, which I continually reference for all my legal work, and is a constant source for current and updated health law information. Everyone I've met at AHLA has been incredibly generous with their time and words of wisdom. Overall, AHLA has greatly contributed to my educational and networking opportunities, and I look forward to hearing new and exciting health law developments from the AHLA team.” Kristen Dahger, JD Canddiate, University of Miami School of Law

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Mentorship at Every Stage of the Journey

Alexander Naum

Alexander is a former AHLA intern and currently works at the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization as an intern. He envisions working in the public sector producing equitable and lasting change in health care. His AHLA internship gave him the confidence needed to engage with mentors and changemakers who helped him belong to a community.

"From the beginning, AHLA has provided me with vital mentorship and advice to help me achieve my goals. I am grateful for the close connection AHLA has with my university, mainly Professor Asha Scielzo, who has been an inspirational mentor at every step of my educational journey. My internship experience with AHLA provided me the confidence to speak and network with practitioners, a skill I previously struggled with and look forward to cultivating further. My internship at AHLA was an affirming experience that helped me realize that I belong in this legal community.” Alexander Naum, Intern, Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization

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Connecting with a Collegial Forum of Deep Thinkers

Matthew Wetzel

Matt Wetzel has been practicing health law for almost 20 years and has served as the Chair of the Fraud and Abuse Practice Group, and currently serves as a member of the AHLA Board of Directors. He prides himself on being an expert in a specialty that impacts the health and livelihood of patients around the globe. Matt is honored to be part of an organization of professionals that are making a lasting impact on the health care industry.

“AHLA has given me the chance to “go deep” on complex topics with experts who not only understand the nuances but also the practical consequences of pressing legal issues. AHLA is made up of collaborative, collegial, and brilliant lawyers and compliance professionals who make a lasting impact on the health care industry but more importantly on each other. We are all so fortunate to practice in this field!” Matthew E. Wetzel, Partner, Goodwin Procter LLP

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A Lifeline for Career Success

Kristen Woodrum

Kristen works as a partner at McGuireWoods LLP, has served as a volunteer and leader at AHLA, and currently offers her insights and ideas to a program planning committee. She has been a benefactor of many AHLA leadership opportunities and educational offerings and has enjoyed the collegial environment found at AHLA.

"When I joined AHLA as a young associate, I realized what an incredibly collegial organization it is and that what you get out is commensurate with your input. Little did I know that I would be active all these years later, much less hold leadership positions. AHLA resources enriched my understanding of health law issues, allowed me to collaborate with knowledgeable people in the field, and helped me become a better and more confident attorney.” Kristen Woodrum, Partner, McGuireWoodsLLP

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Part of a Community Built on Collegiality

Michael Paulhus

Mike Paulhus joined AHLA in June 2006, has served as Chair of the Fundamentals of Health Law Program Planning Committee, and currently serves as a member of the AHLA Board of Directors. He is passionate about helping healthcare provider clients reduce risk, developing a strong culture of ethics and compliance, and supporting business solutions to better serve patients. As an AHLA member, He is proud to be part of a community of supporters and dedicated professionals making a lasting impact.

“I have found the AHLA community continues to boast exceptional collegiality. There have been countless times when AHLA friends have reached out to kick around ideas, ask for introductions or references, or to say they were in town and see if I wanted to get together—and I do the same. Practicing law is much more enjoyable when you know you are part of a strong community of dedicated professionals.” Michael E. Paulhus, Partner, King & Spalding LLP

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A Lifeline to Build a Successful Practice

Mark S. Kopson

Mark serves on the AHLA Board of Directors as Chair of the Education Committee.  He credits his academic and vocational success to AHLA members who helped him find the resources he needed to become a health law leader. Mark continues to pay it forward by assisting organizations to effectuate positive changes in health equity, serving historically underserved populations, and advancing IDEA principles. 

“There is no better source for health law content than AHLA, something extremely attractive to a lifelong learner. The camaraderie among health law professionals of all types – not only attorneys – is a primary attraction of my AHLA membership. AHLA members are among the most giving professionals I’ve ever met. Giving freely of themselves and back to our profession are deeply rooted within the AHLA member mindset. I am deeply indebted to those AHLA members who invited me into their community, gave freely of their hard-earned knowledge, and helped me develop into the professional I am today. Anything I can do to continue those AHLA traditions and pay it forward is both enjoyable and rewarding.”  Mark S. Kopson, Principal, Health Care Industry Group Leader, Plunkett Cooney

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Externship Mentors Provide Priceless Advice

Benjamin Joseph

Benjamin Joseph was a 3L in Spring 2021 when he had an opportunity to work with AHLA as an extern, and shares how crucial AHLA has been to his professional development.

"My externship with the Association afforded me opportunities to gain experience from the best-of-the-best in the industry and network with like-minded individuals. The Association introduced me to mentors in senior leadership like Robert Niccolini, past AHLA president, Greg Demske, Chief of Counsel to the OIG-HHS, and Kim Looney, a partner at K&L Gates's Nashville office, who has served as my go-to career advisor. These and other AHLA members provided priceless advice on how I could influence the health law world and contributed heavily to my overall development and future success." Benjamin C. Joseph, AHLA Extern 2021

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Paying it Forward to the Future Generation of Lawyers

Thomas N. Shorter

Tom Shorter has served in leadership roles on AHLA’s Annual Meeting Program Planning Committee, Labor and Employment Practice Group, the Diversity and Inclusion Council, and a variety of Board Committees, including AHLA President in 2022-2023. It is no secret that he is an advocate for the mission and values of AHLA and strives to mentor young professionals by influencing them to become leaders and speakers for health law.

“AHLA’s overall environment is education driven and collegial. I have been impressed with the caliber of health law experts at the top of their game who consistently find opportunities to learn from their peers and pay their knowledge forward to the next generation of health law leaders. Their insight and influence helped to shape who I am today. I have now provided my knowledge as a speaker at these events and strive to influence others to become future health law leaders.” Thomas N. Shorter, Partner, Husch Blackwell

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The Next Generation Turning Passion into Practice

Vaccine Mandates Cover ImageAddi Book was a JD Candidate at the University of Oklahoma College of Law when she attended AHLA’s Fundamentals of Health Law program in Chicago, IL, taking advantage of the student discount to attend.

She credits the educational sessions at the program for helping her achieve an A in her HIPAA class last semester, and cites the session on employment contracts for physicians as her favorite.

Though I am still early in my health law career, I credit AHLA for getting me here. AHLA’s publications provide me with practical insight on problems I’m facing at work and in my law classes, while their programs serve as a unique forum for networking. It is rare for early career professionals to have the opportunity to get to know successful professionals with like-minded goals and interests. Of course, these programs also provide exceptional educational content, helping me in areas of law, like employment contracts for physicians, that I deal with daily. Addi E Book, Licensed Legal Intern and JD

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The Value of Mentoring

Vaccine Mandates Cover ImageAHLA’s Mentoring Program is available as a benefit to all members. It fosters collegiality across experience levels and the various substantive health law practice areas. This unique online networking and career development tool helps you find and connect with other AHLA members. Your mentor or mentee can be right down the street or across the country. Saralisa Brau shares the value of mentoring. 

"We all have mentors and friends and people who influence us at various points in our career. During my first job out of law school I found and connected with a group of mentors and partners who really brought me under their wing and helped introduce me to health law. They included Christine White, who is a current board member of AHLA, who has been a dear friend for many years. I worked for Chris as an associate back in the day. Other folks at McDermott I worked with included David Marx and Jim Sneed. They were all also very involved in AHLA and really first got me involved in the association as well, and ultimately had the opportunity to publish a book with David and Chris, something that David and Jim Sneed had initially worked on. We had the opportunity to come in and work on a healthcare antitrust book for AHLA and that opportunity to work with them, be guided by them, be brought into AHLA by them, and ultimately sort of work on a really substantive publication together was a really formative part of my early career in particular." Saralisa Brau, McKesson

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Inspiring Impactful Leaders

Lindsay Holmes ImageLindsay Holmes has served as Co-Chair and Chair of the Young Professionals Council, as the Young Professionals Delegate to the AHLA Board of Directors, and most recently, the AHLA Development and Advancement Council (DAC). Lindsay shares about how her experience with AHLA has furthered her career and inspired her to serve on the DAC.

From years of membership and serving in many different roles in AHLA, it has become clear to me that the time and energy you put into AHLA you get back tenfold through unmatched education and camaraderie. The DAC ensures AHLA benefits from a strong, stable, and growing revenue stream to sustain its many programs and initiatives, and it is important to me to further those goals. In joining the DAC, I aim to ensure others have access to the same AHLA resources that I’ve had. Membership in this organization has made me a better healthcare lawyer and through programs like Annual Meeting, I’ve made connections that will last a lifetime. I hope to inspire others to reflect on their own experience within AHLA and use it as motivation to learn more about the Association’s philanthropic goals and give back. Lindsay Holmes, Inc

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Offering Developmental Opportunities

Ogi Kwon ImageExperience the remarkable impact of AHLA's internship program through the captivating story of Ogi Kwon. From partnering with a seasoned health law attorney to co-authoring a groundbreaking article in the renowned Journal of Health and Life Sciences Law, Ogi's transformative journey showcases the value of collaboration and diverse perspectives in navigating intricate healthcare landscapes. 

"I feel fortunate to have learned the value of approaching projects with collaborative mindset early in my career." Ogi Kwon, R1RCM

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Diversity and Inclusion Fund

Provide resources and training to cultivate diverse membership at all levels of AHLA. Your support helps grow future leaders, enhances inclusivity, and ensures a wide range of perspectives within our association.

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Future Leaders Fund - Innovative Professional Development

Help shape the future of health law leadership by supporting innovative professional development. Your contributions enable health law professionals to improve productivity, enhance business knowledge, and legal expertise, and strengthen their value to employers, peers, colleagues, and clients.

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Student Fund - Talent Pipeline Support

Help build a robust talent pipeline of health law professionals. Your support fosters future leaders, speakers, and authors, ensuring that our community remains informed and continues to provide best-in-class service and advice to clients and organizations.

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