American Health Decisions

American Health Decisions (AHD) is a national coalition of citizens’ groups concerned about ethical issues in health care. AHD is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that helps people understand health care choices, articulate the values that shape them, and participate in the health policy process. Our organizations work to empower individuals to participate fully in personal choices affecting their own health care.

All Health Decisions organizations are non-profit tax exempt organizations that sustain their programming through charitable grants, public and member contributions, the sale of program-related education materials, and fees from education and consultation services.

Founded and incorporated as a non-profit, tax exempt organization in 1987, American Health Decisions has included affiliated groups in thirteen states as well as individuals throughout the country. Members of American Health Decisions have sponsored community meetings, local study groups, educational programs, and large-scale public opinion research projects. These activities have placed relevant questions and issues before citizens, enabling them to identify their concerns and priorities and play an active role in shaping public policy. The national office of American Health Decisions is in the state office of the current Chair, David B. Clarke, Executive Director of Massachusetts Health Decisions.

Health Decisions organizations have also been active in professional education. State organizations have worked collaboratively to promote advance directives (Durable Powers of Attorney for Health Care and Living Wills), helped to form and nurture ethics committees, and developed innovative continuing professional education programs for physicians, nurses, chaplains, and community-based professionals active in health care. Almost all Health Decisions organizations develop and maintain active education programs for members of the health care consuming public.

During the 1990s, American Health Decisions comprised a group of 16 affiliated organizations that shared common ideas about the value of public participation in individual and societal decisions in health care. While currently active and affiliated groups are highlighted and linked, those historically like-minded groups included:

Acadia Institute (Bar Harbor, Maine)
Bioethics Resource Group (North Carolina)
California Health Decisions
Center for Healthcare Decisions (California)
Colorado Speaks Out on Health
Georgia Health Decisions
Massachusetts Health Decisions
New Jersey Health Decisions
New York Citizens Committee on Health Care Decisions
Oregon Health Decisions
Tennessee Health Decisions
Vermont Ethics Network
West Virginia University Center of Health and Ethics Law
Wisconsin Health Decisions


Chair: David B. Clarke, DMin, JD, MPH (Executive Director, Massachusetts Health Decisions)
Secretary: Greg Fowler, PhD (Executive Director, geneforum)
Treasurer: Bruce Jennings (Senior Fellow, Center for Humans and Nature, New York; Senior Advisor, The Hastings Center, New York)
Immediate Past Chairman: Michael J. Garland, D. Sc. Rel., (Co-founder and member of the Board of Directors of Oregon Health Decisions)