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American Health Law Association

Board participation in diversity, equity, and inclusion development and education fuels growth in an association’s diversity goals

We’re making progress, and it's a testament to how TDM engages with our board and leaders. They quickly gained trust and respect, because they know what they're talking about, so it's easy to engage in tough issues. It's good to have a partner who is helping us and pushing us so we are able to achieve the goals that we’ve set.

David Cade headshot
David S. Cade Executive Vice President/Chief Executive Officer, AHLA

Excellence in health care requires excellence in health law. AHLA is the nation’s largest, nonpartisan, 501(c)(3) educational organization devoted to legal issues in the health care field. They maintain excellence in health law by educating and connecting the health law community.

THE GOAL A strategic roadmap for strengthening internal DEI initiatives and education to increase DEI competency

AHLA has long recognized that stronger solutions come from bringing a wider range of perspectives to the table. In building a more diverse set of leaders, who regularly counsel clients and organizations on navigating the latest changes to health care laws and policies, they have the potential to positively impact health care disparities. 

Years of intentional effort paved the way for progress in AHLA’s DEI initiatives and outreach, but internal leadership knew more could be achieved with support from experts in the field. They specifically wanted assistance boosting their board’s awareness and understanding of DEI while advancing their goals even further.   

With their board’s buy-in and funding, AHLA issued a request for proposals in the DEI community, inviting The Diversity Movement (TDM) to present their approach and solutions. TDM’s customized plans, extensive training courses, and outcome-driven strategies made them the right partner to help AHLA meet their DEI objectives. 

We’ve been on the journey; we've had successes. We knew we wanted to do things that were more aggressive in the market and also wanted to make sure we brought in experts who could handle board engagements, the ABCs of training, and who understood a professional association footprint. We wanted to work with an organization that would challenge us and help us achieve results.

David S. Cade Executive Vice President/Chief Executive Officer, AHLA

THE SOLUTION Ongoing organizational training and greater transparency in policies, processes, and pathways to board and leadership roles

One of the first tools TDM introduced to the AHLA board was unconscious bias training, a critical step in bringing effective DEI engagement and expansion to the organization’s larger community. This impactful training was then extended to all of AHLA’s leaders and staff.

TDM also conducted a thorough examination of internal procedures and business practices. Surveys and listening sessions among leadership and employees uncovered how well AHLA’s current DEI policies were understood and being implemented. 

These actions allowed TDM and AHLA to develop a structured blueprint for updating internal DEI initiatives and providing greater clarity to employees and members around the Association’s DEI framework. A significant accomplishment in this area was the revision of AHLA’s process for board-level nominations to one which more effectively mitigates bias and makes the selection practice more public.

With TDM’s help, we've developed a work plan that is helping to guide us. We're being much more transparent in allowing the membership to see what's going on and the ‘why’ behind what we're trying to do.

David S. Cade Executive Vice President/Chief Executive Officer, AHLA

THE RESULTS Elevated board commitment to DEI goals and a dynamic cultural shift within the organization

In less than a year, TDM and AHLA’s partnership produced profound, internal changes at the Association, including: 

  • Refresh, strengthen, and expand an inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility (IDEA) statement, shared publicly as a sign of their commitment and accountability 
  • Heightened interest in DEI training and the rollout of additional courses to leadership and staff
  • An atmosphere that fosters important conversations and a willingness to address difficult questions 
  • The adoption of an IDEA Action Plan, which includes specific action steps and goal setting around communications, culture, volunteer/leadership pipeline, and community

Investing in DEI is a long-term enterprise, and AHLA is unwavering in its drive to ensure this work remains a top priority. Their board has embraced having the expertise of TDM on hand, knowing they’ll travel farther faster on their journey with TDM’s guidance and better serve their membership, and the public, because of it.  

The cultural change is the sea change, where you're asking the critical questions, which then drives more of the action to be engaged. Your boardroom becomes more diverse, your selection process is more open and transparent, and the disadvantaged and underrepresented people begin to see themselves in those places. It begins to build. That's what we're seeing, and it's been intensified with the work we've been doing with TDM.

David S. Cade Executive Vice President/Chief Executive Officer, AHLA

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