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Equity in Health Care and Health Law Practice

AHLA leads by sharing facts and truths and by supporting and fostering open forums where our members can come together in a collaborative fashion to exchange views and analysis regarding the problems we face as a profession. 

Together we can solve these problems as long as we are willing to come together and do the hard work. So, we invite you to join this dialogue and become part of the solution.

Conversations with Health Law Leaders

David S. Cade, Executive Vice President and CEO of AHLA, sat down with prominent health law leaders on May 25, 2021, to discuss how we, as a community, can improve equity in health care and health law practice. Below are the interview excerpts along with links to the full interviews. 

Political Determinants of Health

Daniel E. Dawes, J.D., Director of the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine and a widely respected lawyer, author, scholar, educator, and leader in the health equity, health reform, and mental health movements, speaks to the political determinants of health.

Watch Daniel's full interview or listen to the podcast.

Social Determinants of Health

Lindsay F. Wiley, J.D., Professor of Law and Director of the Health Law and Policy Program at American University, Washington College of Law, focuses her research on access to health care and healthy living conditions in the U.S. and globally and speaks to the social determinants of health.

Watch Lindsay's full interview or listen to the podcast.

Diversity in Health Law Practice

Vanessa A. Scott, J.D., Partner and Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer at Eversheds Sutherland, helps large employers design competitive benefits packages that attract and retain personnel, and speaks to the business case for diversity in health law practice.

Watch Vanessa's full interview or listen to the podcast.

Convener on Racial Disparities in Health Care

AHLA hosted a one-day virtual convener on April 12, 2021, where participants discussed all aspects of health disparities and equity in health care, social determinants of health, the impact of law on these issues, and what can be done to address these issues now and in the future.

Part 1: Introduction and Definitions

Vonne Jacobs, Principal & Founder, PHAROS Healthcare Consulting and Creating Equity, LLC, moderates this introduction to the convener, which defines key terms such as racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Listen to the podcast.

Part 2: Institutional Decision Making

Myra Selby, Partner, Ice Miller, moderates this discussion about how institutional decision-making perpetuates racism, discrimination, bias, and lack of equity, and how organizations can adopt anti-racist policies and procedures.

Listen to the podcast.

Part 3: Equity in COVID Vaccine Distribution

Ruqaiijah Yearby, Professor, St. Louis University School of Law, and Dru Battacharya, Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion, Advocate Aurora Health, moderate this discussion that delves into distribution of COVID vaccines, and how to attain equity, crisis standards of care, and ethical decision making.

Listen to the podcast.

Part 4: Social and Political Determinants of Health

Dawn Hunter, Deputy Director, Network for Public Health Law, and Ruqaiijah Yearby, Professor, St. Louis University School of Law, moderate this discussion about how social and political determinants of health are shaped via institutional practices, training, and workforce; investments in spending to improve health equity; and data collection policies and practices.

Listen to the podcast.

Part 5: Civic Engagement and Making an Impact

Dawn Hunter, Deputy Director, Network for Public Health Law, moderates this discussion about how community engagement can make an impact on racial disparities in health care, and how an organization can go from declaring an anti-racism policy to making an impact.

Listen to the podcast.

Full Convener on Racial Disparities in Health Care

Convener Moderators & Participants



  • Scott Burris, Professor of Law; Director, Center for Public Health Law Research, Temple Law School
  • Francys Crevier, JD, CEO of the National Council of Urban Indian Health
  • Sarah de Guia, CEO, ChangeLab Solutions
  • Edward Ehlinger- Acting Chair at HHS Secretary's Advisory Committee on Infant Mortality, Former Minnesota Commissioner of Health, Langeloth Foundation
  • Andres Gonzalez, VP & Chief Diversity Officer, Froedtert & Medical College of Wisconsin
  • J. Nadine Gracia, Executive VP & COO, Trust for America’s Health and Former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health at HHS
  • Melanie Gross, Senior Director & Associate General Counsel, Genentech, FDLI Board of Directors
  • James Hodge, Professor of Law, Arizona State University, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law
  • Dayna Bowen Matthew, Dean and Professor of Law, George Washington Law School
  • Frances Mills, Director, Cleveland Office of Minority Health
  • Harald Schmidt, Assistant Professor of Medical Ethics & Health Policy, U Penn
  • Heather Walter-McCabe, Professor of Law and Social Work, Wayne State University School of Law
  • Samantha Bent Weber - CDC Public Health Law Program

AHLA Board Advisor

  • Cindy Reisz, AHLA President (2021-2022)