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Medical-Legal Partnership Begins

March 31, 2016

  • A few of the leaders working on MLP projects in Oregon: Joan Fleishman, PsyD, Richmond Clinic; Erwin Teuber, PhD, Richmond Clinic; Laura Russell, 3L JD student at Lewis & Clark Law School; Ken Gatter, MD, JD, OHSU; and Rachel Arnold, JD, MPH, Health Share of Oregon

“One in six Americans lives in poverty, and research has shown that each of those people — nearly 50 million — has at least one civil legal problem that negatively affects their health.”*

One way many states are working to address health problems aggravated or caused by legal issues is through medical-legal partnerships. The medical-legal partnership (MLP) model brings health care professionals and attorneys together to address legal issues that impact people’s health. Such problems range from asthma issues due to mold in homes with unenforced housing codes, to homeless veterans needing help stabilizing income so they can afford housing and healthcare, to those needing legal protection against abusive partners. While MLP’s are not new, one has yet to get started in Oregon, until recently.

One of the driving forces behind an Oregon MLP is third-year law student at Lewis & Clark, Laura Russell, who is receiving externship credits for helping launch the program and plans to specialize in public health policy. “I’ve been working on this since my first year of law school and I graduate in May, so my goal is to get this off the ground by then,” she says.

Russell and others who are helping get the Oregon MLP started are featured in the article Linking Health & Law, published in the February/March issue of the Oregon State Bar Bulletin. Read more about Russell and other work being done through the MPL in the February issue of the Portland Physician’s Scribe.

*To learn more, read the full piece written by Melody Finnemore.

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