Diversity and the Asian Health Care Leaders Association
May 22, 2013
I am proud that the Asian Health Care Leaders Association (AHCLA) made history in March along with two of our fellow diversity professional organizations. At Congress on Healthcare Leadership sponsored by the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) in Chicago, I had the unique opportunity to present at two sessions with the presidents of the National Association of Health Services Executives and the National Forum for Latino Healthcare Executives. As Congress faculty, we collaboratively addressed the topic of “Developing Senior- Level Talent by Leveraging Diversity.” This experience served as a reminder of how we, as leaders, must be inclusive in our efforts and actions to truly embrace what it means to be diverse. At this conference, I also had the pleasure of giving the invocation for the annual diversity breakfast. I was inspired to give this invocation knowing that we all have overcome challenges and pushed forward by leaning on each other; and as a result, have impacted more together than we could have ever done alone.
On a more personal note, as I reflect on AHCLA and where we are headed, I have come full circle. Eight years ago, I asked a question that some before me had asked when health care leadership was not quite ready for diversity. For me, timing was everything. That question was, “Is there an organization that I, as an Asian healthcare executive, can turn to for mentorship and professional development where members can personally relate to the experiences I have and will have?” Having posed this question to Frederick Hobby, president of the Institute for Diversity in Health Management, in an elevator at ACHE Congress in Chicago, I would not have expected his response to perpetuate into what is known today as AHCLA. Fred responded with a smile, a handshake and a question. He asked, “No, but are you willing to start one?” With the help of some very special individuals who formed the inaugural board of directors, AHCLA’s mission of increasing the representation and professional development of Asian Americans in health care executive management, policy and administration was born. We defined our values to include leadership and professional development, improving health care delivery, advancing and advocating diversity and creating unique value. With the help of our sponsors, our programs in mentorship, ongoing webinars and conferences are a few deliverables that we offer to members in pursuit of our mission and vision.
Now, eight years after that fateful question in an elevator, I have the gift of serving as AHCLA’s board chair, and am happy and proud to offer to you our upcoming national conference in San Diego, CA on July 24. The Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel will host our third national conference on “The Emerging Asian Influence in Healthcare and Leadership.” Please accept this as your invitation to attend our conference. You can register at http://achla2013nationalconference.eventbrite.com/#. We would be honored with your presence. For more information on the Asian Health Care Leaders Association, please visit our website at www.asianhealthcareleaders.org.