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August 28, 2023

Chair’s Column

Aloha, Mahalo, and Aloha

By Kathy Poppitt, King & Spalding LLP, Austin, TX

Click here for the audio version of this article

Aloha all of you! I hesitate to start my last column as Chair of the Health Law Section (HLS) with another family struggle but please stick with me, it is actually very uplifting and relevant to our members. My family and some friends had planned for some time a trip to Maui, Hawaii, to celebrate several milestone birthdays and an engagement. Turns out we were there as the disastrous fires began. It was unnerving and, for one night, very scary for my family and friends as to whether we would need to evacuate. The wind changed direction, and we were able to stay at the house we had rented. What followed was a bit bizarre, because our group was able to still have a wonderful vacation while much of the island was burning.

Now for the uplifting part. First, several HLS staff, leadership, and members knew that I was going on this trip. I was so humbled and thrilled to receive many texts and emails from so many of these people. It meant the world to me and made me once again so thankful for my years spent creating these connections and life-long relationships with such fabulous and caring people. The word for family in Hawaiian is ʻohana. The word encompasses the idea of extended family and community connections and emphasizes the importance of family relationships and responsibilities. It is also related to the interconnectedness of all members of a community. This idea of family goes beyond just blood relatives, including close friends, neighbors, and even colleagues and spiritual leaders. To me, the HLS is part of my ‘ohana and I am so thankful for it! Mahalo for letting me serve as the Chair this past year.

Second, I want to inform you that I have made a donation to a Hawaiian relief fund on behalf of the HLS. It seemed the least I could do in return for sharing their beautiful island and culture in the midst of such tragedy—my way of saying mahalo to this people and land.

I also want to extend a huge ALOHA to the new HLS Chair, Adrienne Dresevic! She will be a great Chair and will lead this group to accomplish wonderful things over the next year. The new HLS Officers and Council members are as follows:

  • Chair: Adrienne Dresevic
  • Chair-Elect: Matthew R. Fisher
  • Vice Chair: Lisa D. Taylor
  • Secretary: David H. Ellenbogen
  • Budget Officer: Denise Glass
  • Budget Officer Elect: Jeff Calk
  • Immediate Past Chair: Kathy L. Poppitt

Section Delegates to the House of Delegates:

  • Robyn Shapiro (2021)
  • Hilary H. Young (2023)

They don’t need it, but I wish them all the best of luck and success.

Please know that the HLS leadership is here to facilitate your involvement in the Section and that you can call on us at any time. I have enjoyed working with and talking to each of you over the last bar year and have appreciated your participation, feedback, and suggestions.


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