Affiliations:Tisch Community Health Prize
LegalHealth is an innovative program uniting legal and health care professionals who work collaboratively to improve the lives of low-income people with serious health problems. LegalHealth helps reduce health disparities and improve quality of life by addressing the legal needs associated with poverty that undermine recovery, eliminating legal barriers to services, and educating health care professionals to identify their patients’ legal needs.
For example, in representing an asthma patient, LegalHealth might take action against a landlord to force repairs to housing conditions triggering the disease, such as mold and vermin. To help a cancer patient avoid additional stresses that might compromise her condition, LegalHealth can assist by making plans for care of dependents, or resolving debt and credit issues.
Nominator Joe Baker, President of the Medicare Rights Center, noted that LegalHealth has taken the medical-legal partnership model “to a new level, maximizing its impact while expanding new arenas for implementation.” In fact LegalHealth is now the largest such partnership in the nation and has served over 17,000 clients and trained over 5,000 health care professionals. It further extends its mission statewide and nationally through legislative advocacy work. Last fall it was instrumental in getting state legislation passed and signed by Governor Cuomo to expand medical-legal partnerships throughout New York State.
LegalHealth tells a broader story about community health—that health outcomes are often dependent on myriad “non-medical” factors that left unchecked lead to health inequities. LegalHealth inspires others to seek innovative ways to tackle these social determinants of health, making it eminently worthy of the second annual Joan H. Tisch Community Health Prize.
- Website: New York Legal Assistance Group – LegalHealth
- Prize Awarded: 2012