Focused Education for Absence and Disability Professionals

Who We Are

Become a DMEC MemberThe Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC) is the only association dedicated to providing focused education, knowledge, and networking for absence and disability professionals. Through our national and regional education programs, we deliver trusted strategies, tools, and resources to minimize lost work time, improve workforce productivity, and maintain legally compliant absence and disability programs.

We have over 700 employer and supplier member organizations, representing over 10,000 absence and disability management professionals from across the U.S. and Canada. Regardless of organization or department size, we have programs and resources that can help any company manage their integrated absence management programs. Learn more about DMEC membership.

Our Mission

DMEC’s mission is to advance strategies and resources that improve workforce productivity by minimizing the impact of absence and disability through education, networking, and other resources.

Our Core Values

DMEC strives to embody five core values in our day-to-day interactions with members, sponsors, and each other.


We are passionate about the work we do each day to support the mission and vision of DMEC.  From daily tasks to strategic projects, we put our heart and soul into our work. And we believe that passion is catching. Our goal is that our members and customers see our passion and embrace and share the vision of DMEC.

Reputation Matters

Integrity and honesty are what matter most in our interactions with members, customers, and each other. We strive to always do what we say we’re going to do. And if we fall a bit short, we take ownership of our mistakes and do a better job next time.

Forward Thinking

Today’s effort and planning ensure tomorrow’s success. Whether it’s new tools or new systems, we’re always looking for better ways to serve our members and customers now and in the future. And we put our money where our mouth is by committing our time, effort, and resources to advancing the mission of DMEC for years to come.


We know we’re only as strong as our team, our members, and our customers. Everyone’s voice and expertise matter. That’s why we encourage our staff, volunteers, and sponsors to play a crucial role in charting our course and building our future.  It takes a village to get where we want to be, and we’re committed to creating a connected community to help us get there.


There’s a reason why members say they feel at home with DMEC. We’re here for them … to empower them to be better employers. And that shows up in every interaction we have. Whether they need help getting registered or need a resource to tackle a tough issue, we’re focused on meeting their needs in any way we can.


In 1992, the state of California was considering implementing employer-paid, universal healthcare coverage. DMEC co-founders, Sharon Kaleta and Marcia Carruthers recognized that if such a program were implemented, there would be a need to measure and manage the full cost of absence and disability. They also recognized that there wasn’t a forum for people in the industry to talk and share best practices around integrated disability management.

In response, they started DMEC with the goal of providing a place for disability professionals to come together to discuss the issues impacting the industry and develop strategies for improving employee productivity through integrated programs and return to work strategies.

The first DMEC local chapter was started in Southern California in 1992. Our local and regional presence continued to expand, and we now have 15 chapters across the United States that host meetings throughout the year for the local absence and disability management community.

Also in 1996, the first national DMEC Annual Conference was held in San Diego. Over the years, the annual conference continued to grow, bringing in absence and disability professionals from across the country. In 2012 we held the first DMEC FMLA/ADA Employer Compliance Conference.

DMEC also developed, over its 25-year history, a series of resources and programs to support the absence management community, including the the Certified Professional in Disability Management (CPDM) course of study and designation, professional reference publications, white papers, and much more.

What’s Ahead

2017 and BeyondOver the next few years, we will continue to grow our membership and significantly expand educational programs and resource to more effectively serve the absence and disability community both nationally and internationally.

We know that compliance with rapidly changing state and federal laws is a challenge for employers across the country. We’re committed to helping our members in this area. In 2016, we introduced our new Certified Leave Management Specialist (CLMS) designation program. Over five self-guided and self-paced modules, you will learn from real-life scenarios and test your knowledge with interactive quizzes and a final exam. Downloadable toolkits, sample policies, documents, up-to-date guidance, resources, and forms are also provided to help you effectively meet today’s legal and regulatory challenges!

We’re also focused on growing our two face-to-face conferences, the DMEC FMLA/ADA Employer Compliance Conference and the DMEC Annual Conference and providing an opportunity for anyone, whether they’re from a small or large company or whether they’ve been in the industry for one year or 20 years, to gather the latest information from the best and brightest in our field and translate that into strong, legally compliant programs in their organizations.

Stay tuned for more information on these and other programs.