New Fellowship Launched to Build Healthcare Expertise Among Civil Legal Aid Leaders

Released: 3-Mar-2014 9:00 AM EST
Embargo expired: 5-Mar-2014 12:00 AM EST
Source Newsroom: George Washington University
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Newswise — Washington, DC (March 5, 2014) – Thanks to generous support from the Public Welfare Foundation, the National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services (NCMLP) and the National Legal Aid and Defender Association (NLADA) announced a new fellowship today designed to build healthcare expertise in the legal aid community. Twenty four senior-level staff from legal aid agencies in 21 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico were selected as inaugural fellows.

“Legal needs related to housing, domestic violence and public benefits are inextricably linked to the health and well-being of low-income communities,” said Camille Holmes, director for leadership and racial equality at NLADA. “For decades, civil legal aid offices have worked to improve housing conditions, protect utility access and appeal benefit denials. But what has been missing is a concerted effort by the legal aid community to align these services with the delivery of healthcare for the same populations. This fellowship aims to remedy that.”

During the year-long fellowship, fellows will be guided by a faculty of national experts in healthcare administration, policy, research and economics, and participate in activities designed to deepen their understanding of healthcare organization, financing and priorities. Fellows will learn to frame legal services in a healthcare context, build strong healthcare alliances and use population health data effectively. The fellowship will culminate in a project with a local healthcare entity.

“Healthcare is evolving to recognize the value other professions can bring to the healthcare team,” said Ellen Lawton, co-principal investigator of NCMLP. “Attorneys have critical expertise and skills to contribute to patient health and policy change, but the legal aid community has to transform the way it collects data and delivers care if it wants to be part of this changing landscape and ultimately help more individuals. This fellowship will help build that expertise in these agencies from the top down.”

2014 Where Health Meets Justice Fellows:
1. Jonathan Asher, Executive Director, Colorado Legal Services
2. Carol Ashley, Vice President of Advocacy, Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law (Illinois)
3. Jeffrey Been, Executive Director, Legal Aid Society of Louisville, Kentucky
4. Daniel Bruner, Director of Legal Services, Whitman-Walker Health (Washington, DC)
5. Caroline Chapman, Director, Public Benefits Practice Group, Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago
6. Regina Daniels-Thomas, Deputy Chief Counsel Broad Based Advocacy, Legal Aid and Defender Association, Inc. (Michigan)
7. Beth Engels, Managing Attorney, Community Legal Services (Arizona)
8. George Hausen, Jr., Executive Director, Legal Aid of North Carolina
9. Charles Hey-Maestre, Executive Director, Puerto Rico Legal Services, Inc.
10. Dennis Groenenboom, Executive Director, Iowa Legal Aid
11. M. Nalani Fujimori Kaina, Executive Director, Legal Aid Society of Hawaii
12. Yvonne Mariajiminez, Deputy Director, Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County
13. Ed Marks, Executive Director, New Mexico Legal Aid, Inc.
14. Margaret Middleton, Executive Director and Co-Founder, Connecticut Veterans Legal Center
15. Adam Mueller, Staff Attorney / ILS Director of MLP Initiatives, Indiana Legal Services
16. Nikole Nelson, Executive Director, Alaska Legal Services Corporation
17. Beth Orlansky, Advocacy Director, Mississippi Center for Justice
18. Dave Pantos, Executive Director, Legal Aid of Nebraska
19. Alison Paul, Executive Director, Montana Legal Services Association
20. Anne Rubin, Managing Attorney, Ohio State Legal Services Association
21. Rodolfo Sanchez, Deputy Director, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid
22. Anne Swelick, Deputy Director of Advocacy, Florida Legal Services
23. Rhodia Thomas, Executive Director, MidPenn Legal Services (Pennsylvania)
24. Valerie Zolezzi-Wyndham, Managing Attorney, Community Legal Aid (Massachusetts)
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About the National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership:

NCMLP improves the health and well-being of vulnerable people by transforming the healthcare team to identify, treat and prevent health-harming, legal needs for patients, clinics and populations. It is a project of the Health Policy Department at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services. www.medical-legalpartnership.org

About the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services:

Established in July 1997, the School of Public Health and Health Services brought together three longstanding university programs in the schools of medicine, business, and education and is now the only school of public health in the nation’s capital. Today, more than 1,100 students from nearly every U.S. state and more than 40 nations pursue undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral-level degrees in public health. The school now offers an online Master of Public Health, MPH@GW, which allows students to pursue their degree from anywhere in the world. http://sphhs.gwu.edu/

About the National Legal Aid and Defender Association:

National Legal Aid & Defender Association is America’s oldest and largest nonprofit association devoted to excellence in the delivery of legal services to those who cannot afford counsel. NLADA pioneered access to justice at the national, state and local level through the creation of our public defender system, development of nationally applicable standards for legal representation, groundbreaking legal legislation and the creation of institutions such as the Legal Services Corporation.


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