Partnering across sectors requires learning to describe your mission and work in your partner’s framework and language. In medical-legal partnership, this means re-framing civil legal needs as social determinants of health and describing the benefits of civil legal aid in health and health care terms. This messaging guide is intended to help civil legal aid practitioners message their work to health care audiences.
By Kate Marple
National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership
The civil legal aid community is in a position to help health care improve the circumstances in which people live, work and play — the social determinants that can negatively impact health. But for health care leadership and policymakers to see civil legal aid as a valuable tool for improving health and invest in it, civil legal aid’s role in improving health and health care must be clear. The only way to make legal care visible and necessary to health care is to describe it in the words and values of that community.
This guide is intended to help civil legal aid practitioners message their work to health care audiences in order to build stronger cross sector medical-legal partnerships and to encourage investment in that work. The messaging guide will help:
- Translate common civil legal problems and interventions into health care talking points (page 3);
- Frame stories with effective messengers (page 5); and
- Cultivate stories and data to support four messages that every medical-legal partnership should be able to tell about civil legal aid’s impact on health and health care (pages 4, 6-9).