William F. Russo and Dr. Rishi Manchanda from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) were honored by the National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership (NCMLP) on Friday, April 11, 2014, for their work to improve the health of veterans by bridging health and legal services.
William F. (Bill) Russo, an attorney in the VA Office of the General Counsel is the recipient of the 2014 Medical-Legal Partnership Leadership Award. Established in 2010, the award recognizes individuals and groups whose leadership, vision and hard work have significantly advanced and strengthened the MLP movement to reach people and communities in need.
“Three of the top ten needs that homeless veterans report are for legal help related to housing and employment problems – things that have significant impact on their health and housing status,” said Megan Sandel, Medical Director of the National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership. “Bill Russo has worked tirelessly to elevate the cause of access to civil legal services for veterans and build partnerships across sectors to help ensure veterans have access to legal services where they receive their healthcare.”
Dr. Rishi Manchanda, Lead Physician on the Homeless Patient Aligned Care Team at the Greater Los Angeles VA Healthcare System, is the recipient of the 2014 Distinguished MLP Advocate Award. Established in 2011, the award is given annually to recognize a practitioner from the health or legal sector who has made a significant contribution to support the national growth of the MLP movement through research, policy, scaling or education activities.
“Dr. Manchanda came to the VA with an eye toward medical-legal partnership and a solid understanding of the impact that legal services could have on the health of veterans,” said Ellen Lawton, co-Principal Investigator at NCMLP. “He not only helped incorporate legal services into the homeless patient care aligned teams within the Los Angeles VA System, but is working with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to quantify the value of legal services on healthcare outcomes. His leadership will help ensure VA Medical Centers across the United States provide this kind of care to their patients.”
Both awards were presented on April 11, 2014 during the Medical-Legal Partnership Summit in Seattle, Washington.