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Samarria Dunson Named YMCA of Greater Montgomery's 2023 Person of the Year

Samarria Dunson, of Counsel in the firm’s Montgomery office and member of the Health Law Practice, was named the YMCA of Greater Montgomery’s Person of the Year at the organization’s annual program on December 5 in recognition of her contributions to the youth in the community. 

Samarria’s years of service to the YMCA include her leadership and organization of the YMCA’s Summer S.T.E.A.M. Academy, created for the YMCA Achievers and Power Teens programs to introduce young people to careers in science, technology, engineering, art and math.  The Academy exposes students a wide range of careers, from exploring the criminal justice system, to learning about health and nutrition with local professionals, to engaging in robotics competitions led by engineers. Participants also gained insight into veterinary practices and juvenile justice.

Samarria serves her community in several leadership positions including Chair of the Baptist Health Care Foundation, President of The University of Alabama Board of Community Affairs, Fellow at the Alabama Law Foundation, and Board Member and Audience Development Chair of the Alabama Shakespeare Festival Board.

She and her husband, Kendall Dunson, started an endowed scholarship for local public school students who wish to attend The University of Alabama. The scholarship was created for students who are not eligible for a Federal Pell Grant, but also come from families that do not have the means to assist then with financing their continued education.

For more than 70 years, teens of the Montgomery Student YMCAs have shown their appreciation to the men and women dedicated to serving youth in the community by planning and executing the YMCA’s Person of the Year annual program. At the banquet, students pay tribute to the nominees, one of whom is selected as Person of the Year. This year’s group included 14 nominees, all of whom received certificates in honor of their contributions. 

“Every success that I’ve had in my life has been because someone has looked out for me and opened the doors and given me opportunities. So to the extent that I can, I want to make sure that I provide those opportunities for young people,” Samarria said in an interview with WSFA 12 News, following the presentation of her award.

Samarria’s practice focuses on healthcare compliance and ensuring that healthcare entities attain and maintain compliance with HIPAA and HITECH regulations. She develops policies and procedures, risk assessments, negotiates business associate agreements, and provides training to healthcare providers. 

Samarria has a partnership with the Alabama Medical Association to provide education on HIPAA-related issues to over 7,000 physicians statewide. She is certified by the Health Care Compliance Association in both Health Care Compliance (CHC) and Health Care Privacy Compliance (CHPC). Additionally, she has extensive experience in healthcare administrative law and healthcare facility regulation.  Additionally, Samarria serves as a part-time Municipal Judge for the City of Montgomery.

Samarria is an important contributor to the Montgomery office’s Balch Business Boost program, a program supporting small businesses facing significant barriers to building and sustaining progress by providing free or low-cost legal services.