Waiting to open the prized gift at a special holiday gathering is possibly the hardest lesson in patience that a parent can teach a child. You have dreamed about receiving the gift, pictured yourself with the gift, imagined the faces of all those gathered when you ripped open the packaging, and eagerly watched the calendar flip to the day of revealing the treasured object. As we age, however, (and get tired of finding places to put “stuff”) we discover that the most prized gifts are not the ones we open and receive, but the ones we give, and the friendships we make along the way. Using the talents, education and gifts you have to help someone else succeed is a priceless treasure.
As we close out 2016 and begin 2017, I want to encourage you as health lawyers and health professionals to consider the opportunities you have to use your talents, education and gifts to become involved in the ABA Health Law Section to further its mission: “[d]edicated to enhancing the practice of health lawyers and improving the understanding and development of health laws.” We have an opportunity now, as the administration in Washington transitions, to speak to potential changes on the horizon in our subject-matter expertise. I encourage you to volunteer through your Interest Group to assist the Health Law Policy Committee of the Section, co-chaired by Joe Geraci of Husch Blackwell LLP and Linda Malek of Moses & Singer LLP, to draft comments to proposed rules or legislation. This Committee will be calling on you soon. Please be ready and willing to serve.
Countless opportunities abound through the Section for you to use your gifts. If you have a passion for helping cancer patients navigate the legal hurdles they may encounter as they battle the diseases they are facing, volunteer through the Breast Cancer Initiatives Interest Group chaired by Janet Pulliam of Sneddon & Marshall PLLC. Veterans all across our nation need legal assistance from lawyers willing to help – volunteer through the Section’s Military & Veterans Health Law Interest Group chaired by Deirdre Golden of the University of Detroit Mercy Law School. You may have personally encountered the issues faced by medical personnel suffering with substance use disorders and mental health issues. Volunteer through the Section’s Substance Use Disorders and Mental Health Interest Group chaired by Beth Ann Middlebrook of The Watershed Treatment Programs, Inc.
Your particular gift may be in writing about emerging health law issues. Contact the Section’s various publications’ chairs: Conrad Meyer of Chehardy Sherman Ellis LLP, Chair of ABA Health eSource Editorial Board, Bruce Howell of Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt, Chair of The Health Lawyer editorial board, and Amy Fehn of Fehn Robichaud & Colagiovanni PLLC and Jennifer Rangel of Locke Lord LLP, co-chairs of the Section’s Publication Book editorial board. Our members derive immeasurable benefit from the written guidance they can find in our publications.
Determine that this year, 2017, will be the year that you give back to the profession by volunteering through the Health Law Section’s many opportunities. I invite you to browse our website at: http://www.americanbar.org/groups/health_law.html. You are sure to find an area of interest where you can use your gifts and talents to enhance the practice of law and promote the Section’s mission.
Plan to join us in New Orleans March 8-11, 2017 for the Section’s premier live program “Emerging Issues in Health Law” or “EMI.” We are offering a first-time attendee discount that is a significant cost saving over comparable health law live meetings. By March, there will be more information on the direction of the new administration. We will have government speakers available to address the pressing health law issues that your clients are facing. Search the EMI website for the most up-to-date information on the conference: http://shop.americanbar.org/ebus/ABAEventsCalendar/EventDetails.aspx?productId=255328675.
For long-time members of the Section, EMI is a “can’t miss” conference. Several networking opportunities are provided as well as round-table luncheon discussions by substantive Interest Group area. The Section’s first live program of the bar year occurred December 12-13th in Washington D.C. and had record attendance as practitioners were seeking information to guide their clients through the potential changes ahead in health law. EMI will build on the discussions begun at the Washington Health Law Summit. The second day of the conference was carried live on C-SPAN. You can see the quality of the live programs produced by the Section by viewing Day 2 here: https://www.c-span.org/video/?420075-1/former-cms-officials-discuss-future-health-care.
I promise that the ROI (“return on investment”) you receive from giving back to the profession is priceless. Focus on ways that you will give this year. Then, in December of 2017, look back on the ways that you have received benefits from your gift that you never anticipated. It’s a good and honorable gift.
Thanks for all you do,
Joyce Hall, Chair
Mississippi Trivia: The first-ever lung transplant in a human and the first-ever heart transplant in a human were performed in Mississippi at the state’s academic medical center, the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Both surgeries were performed by Dr. James Hardy, chairman of the Department of Surgery from 1955 to 1987.