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Medical-Legal Partnerships and Public Health Law

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A closer look at addressing health inequities through MLPs

Project Leadership

Donna E. Levin, J.D, National Director, Network for Public Health Law

Colleen Healy Boufides, J.D. Deputy Director, Network for Public Health Law Mid-States Region Office

If you’d like to learn more about our work with MLPs and how this work can inform community health and health equity programs and policies, please contact Colleen.

Working with the National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership and with MLPs across the country, the Network provides real-time consultation to MLPs to support their efforts to catalyze institutional and systemic changes that will improve the health of communities. At the same time, the on-the-ground MLP experience can inform the Network about the ways in which laws (or the lack thereof) negatively influence health, such as by enabling hazardous housing conditions or wrongful evictions, or by creating barriers to accessing health care. Through this collaboration, we seek to identify and remediate these types of law and policy gaps and barriers, and focus our efforts on initiatives that can positively impact health and health equity.

Both the National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership (NCMLP) and the Network support and encourage the use of law to address social and structural determinants of poor health. The organizations accomplish this goal through distinct but complementary approaches: while NCMLP works to spread and support the medical-legal partnership approach as a tool for combatting upstream causes of poor health, NPHL provides substantive legal technical assistance to practitioners to support their public health law and policy efforts. This initiative between NCMLP and NPHL seeks to amplify the impact of both organizations through a collaborative and bidirectional working relationship.