MLP in Health Centers Guide Webinar Series Part 4: The Medical-Public Defender Partnership

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

By The National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership

Since its founding in the early 1990s, the MLP approach has evolved to incorporate criminal legal in addition to civil legal needs. One of the first MLPs focused on criminal legal needs emerged in Rhode Island, where health centers have partnered with the Rhode Island Public Defender’s Office to collaborate around preserving their shared clients’/patients’ health.

On June 23, attendees heard from MLP practitioners in Rhode Island discuss a unique medical-public defender partnership. Participants learned the following:

1. The impact of criminal legal involvement on health and well-being

2. The history and evolution of the medical-legal partnership

3. Rhode Island’s approach to bringing together health centers and public defenders to support mutual patient-clients

4. Best practices that empower health centers to advocate for patients with criminal legal involvement

The webinar featured the following panelists:

  • James Lawless, Social Services Department Chief, Rhode Island Public Defender
  • Elizabeth Tobin-Tyler, JD, MA, Associate Professor of Health Services, Policy & Practice, Brown University
  • Anthony Thigpen, Community Health Worker, Lifespan’s Transition Clinic
  • Rahul Vanjani, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Brown Medicine