24 civil legal aid leaders selected for inaugural fellowship to build health care expertise

Wednesday, 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 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)