Medical-Legal Partnerships

The medical-legal partnership (MLP) model combines health and legal services at a single site of care to address social determinants of health and provide holistic care. YLS students who participate in an MLP meet with patients at local health clinics to help address legal needs like access to government programs, housing, employment, immigration, and family law matters. The Solomon Center coordinates student participation in eight MLPs, working across the continuum of care and life experiences: the Haven MLP, Palliative Care MLP, Pediatric Care MLP, Pediatric Gender MLP, Transitions MLP, Veterans MLP, Geriatric MLP, Oncology MLP. Several of these MLPs partner with legal service organizations in the area, including New Haven Legal Assistance Association, the Center for Children’s Advocacy, and Connecticut Veterans Legal Center.

Haven MLP
The Haven MLP is a partnership with HAVEN, a free clinic operated by Yale medical students every Saturday for uninsured patients, the great majority of whom are also undocumented immigrants. Law student volunteers work onsite at the clinic and meet directly with patients to conduct legal screenings.  Volunteers provide advice, referrals, or representation, depending on the situation.  Common legal issues include immigration, wage theft, landlord/tenant concerns, and domestic violence. Law students also provide legal training to other Haven volunteers and collaborate with community organizations on campaigns for structural change.

Geriatric MLP
The Geriatric MLP targets legal services to the elderly in collaboration with medical providers, elder service organizations, and elder justice policy advocates. Doctor Richard Marottoli of the Adler Clinic and Doctor James Lai, the Associate Chief of Clinical Affairs for Geriatric Affairs at the Yale School of Medicine, serve as the medical partners for the clinic, screening their patients for social legal needs and refer them to this MLP. The major health-harming legal issues the MLP aims to address are elder abuse, public benefits, housing conditions, and estate planning.

Palliative Care MLP
The Palliative Care MLP works with NHLAA and a pro bono lawyer to provide civil legal services to palliative care and cancer patients at the Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven Hospital (YNHH). Students in the Palliative Care MLP conduct intake interviews with clients and draft desired documents, such as wills, power-of-attorney agreements, and advanced health care directives. Depending on patients’ needs, students may also work on real-estate transactions and guardianship issues.

Oncology MLP
The Oncology MLP works with breast cancer patients at the Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale New Haven Hospital.  Students in the Oncology MLP work with social workers and nurses to screen patients for legal needs.  This MLP addresses a wide range of legal issues, including employment, public benefits, immigration, and housing.

Pediatric Care MLP
In 2013, the Center for Children’s Advocacy (CCA) established an MLP in the pediatric primary care center at Yale-New Haven Hospital (YNHH), focusing on issues of childhood poverty and access to services. One student each semester participates in this MLP and works directly with a CCA attorney, Alice Rosenthal. Students engage in both direct client services—working with physicians in the clinic to identify patient-specific and systemic issues, as well as policy research and advocacy.

Transitions MLP
The Transitions MLP is based in the Transitions Clinic in the adult primary care center at Yale-New Haven Hospital (YNHH) that serves those returning home from prison. Law students screen patients for health-harming legal needs, train residents, patients, and other medical providers on the rights of patients, and participate in community campaigns for structural change.

Veterans MLP
Connecticut Veterans Legal Center (CVLC) operates an MLP at VA Connecticut’s Errera Community Care Center (ECCC). Students work directly with the attorneys at CVLC to provide direct client services and to engage in research and advocacy on relevant policy issues.

MLP Symposium and Special Issue of the Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law & Ethics

On March 3, 2017, the Solomon Center hosted a symposium on medical-legal partnerships: Building an Academic Agenda to Enhance MLP Practice. The articles emerging from this symposium were published in a special issue of the Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law, and Ethics: Symposium, "Medical Legal Partnerships" 17 Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law & Ethics 251 (2017):

Susanna D. Evarts and Nathan Guevremont (’18), “Introduction to the Medical-Legal Partnership Symposium Issue,” 17 Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law, and Ethics 251 (2017).

Yael Cannon, “A Mental Health Checkup for Children at the Doctor's Office: Lessons from the Medical-Legal Partnership Movement to Fulfill Medicaid's Promise,” 17 Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law, and Ethics 253 (2017).

Tamar Ezer, “Medical-Legal Partnerships with Communities: Legal Empowerment to Transform Care,” 17 Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law, and Ethics 309 (2017).

Jesselyn Friley, “Ethics of Evidence: Health Care Professionals in Public Benefits and Immigration Proceedings,” 17 Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law, and Ethics 327 (2017).

Joel Teitelbaum and Ellen Lawton, “The Roots and Branches of the Medical-Legal Partnership Approach to Health: From Collegiality to Civil Rights to Health Equity,” Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law, and Ethics 343 (2017).

Research

The Solomon Center is emperically evaluating its MLPs to contribute to a critical gap in the legal and biomedical scholarly literature by completing an interdisciplinary, quantitative study. The Solomon Center is seeking to hire an epidemiologist/biostatistcian to lead this work, information on the position and how to apply can be found here.

Publications & News

Emily Rock '14 and James Bhandary-Alexander. "Congress Should Act to Fund Medical-Legal Partnerships," Bill of Health (Sep. 2021)

Emily Benfer, James Bhandary-Alexander, Yael Cannon, Medha Makhlouf, Tomar Pierson-Brown, "Setting the Health Justice Agenda: Addressing Health Inequity & Injustice in the Post-Pandemic Clinic," Clinical Law Review (July 15, 2021)

Emily A. Benfer, Abbe R. Gluck '00, and Katherine L. Kraschel, "Medical-Legal Partnership: Lessons from Five Diverse MLPs in New Haven, Connecticut," 46 The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics 02 (Oct. 2018).

Wack ’18 on Interprofessional Student Hotspotting Collaborative, Yale Law School News (Apr. 2018).

Solomon Center Submits Comments to HHS, Yale Law School News (Aug. 2017).

Finding a Cure through the Law, Yale Law School News (June 2017).

Sharon Pope Receives Hartford County Bar Association President’s Award for Excellence (May 2017).

Jingyi Cui, Law Symposium Focuses on Medical-Legal Partnerships, Yale Daily News (Mar. 2017).

Mark Hanin (YLS 2017), The Architecture of Medical-Legal Partnerships (Nov. 2015).

Photo of Rebecca Iannantuoni

Rebecca Iannantuoni (Palliative Care MLP)

Rebecca Iannantuoni is the legal supervisor at the palliative care MLP. She has particular expertise in elder law and planning for persons with special needs. She is a member of the Estates and Probate Section and Elder Law Sections of the Connecticut Bar Association and a member of the National Association of Elder Law Attorneys. She currently is a counsel in Day Pitney’s Individual Clients department representing fiduciaries estate administration and advising clients regarding all aspects of estate planning with extensive experience with Title XIX Medicaid planning. Rebecca received her B.A. from Manhattanville College with Departmental Honors in Political Science and her J.D. cum laude from Quinnipiac University School of Law.

 

 

 

Christy Fischer (Veterans MLP)

Christy Fisher is a public interest attorney and the legal supervisor for at the veterens MLP, with a legal career centered in Connecticut and Washington, DC. She worked at New Haven Legal Assistance Association (LAA), in both its Derby and New Haven offices, handling public benefit, employment and consumer cases and also pursuing group representation, assisting Save Our Clinic in its successful effort to maintain a community-based dental clinic. As the Managing Attorney, Christy expanded its connections with the social service community, and held inaugural leadership posts on both the Valley Council for Health & Human Services, which advocates for community-wide and culturally diverse approaches to local issues, and the Healthy Valley 2000 campaign, aimed at improving the quality of residents’ life and health while also enhancing regional economic development. Since 2014, Christy has served as Senior Counsel with the Connecticut Veterans Legal Center (CVLC), a medical-legal partnership working with the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide free civil legal assistance to veterans from throughout the state. She currently co-teaches a veterans’ law clinical class at Quinnipiac University School of Law, in addition to participating as a supervisor with Yale’s Medical-Legal Partnership course.

 

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Lisa Puglisi (Transitions MLP)

Dr. Lisa Puglisi is an Assistant Professor of Medicine, a primary care physician and director of Transitions Clinic New Haven at the Yale Primary Care Center, a program specializing in providing primary care and social service linkage to individuals returning from incarceration to the community. In this role she works directly with the MLP students to identify civil legal needs that influence the health and success of patient reentry. Dr. Puglisi leads educational interventions to expand knowledge and exposure of internal medicine trainees to the health impacts of incarceration to improve medical care for this population. She received her undergraduate degree from Tufts University and an M.D. from Albert Einstein College of Medicine and completely her residency training at Yale.

 

 

 

Photo of Alice Rosenthal

Alice Rosenthal (Pediatric Care MLP)

Alice Rosenthal is an attorney for the Center for Children’s Advocacy and coordinates the MLP at Yale New Haven Hospital. She represents children and families on legal issues affecting the health and well-being of children, such as housing, public benefits, healthcare access, and education and works collaboratively with hospital staff and providers. Prior to working at the Center for Children’s Advocacy, Rosenthal worked as an education law attorney at Advocates for Children of New York, representing children involved in the child welfare system on access to an appropriate education, first as an Equal Justice Works Fellow and then as a project director. Prior to law school, Rosenthal worked as an advocate on children’s issues with Good Shepherd Services and the Center for Court Innovation. Rosenthal received a B.A. in Psychology and Social Welfare from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a J.D. from Rutgers Law School-Newark. She is admitted to practice in Connecticut and New York.

 

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Alexis Smith (Haven & Transitions MLPs)

Alexis Smith is the legal supervisor at the Haven and Transitions MLPs. Smith is the Executive Director at New Haven Legal Assistance Association (LAA). Prior to joining LAA, Smith was an attorney at Greater Hartford Legal Aid for six years, where she practiced in the education and employment units. Smith obtained her B.A. from Duke University and her J.D. from the University of Wisconsin Law School. She has served as president of the George W. Crawford Black Bar Association and Secretary of the Connecticut Bar Association. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Connecticut Center for Arts and Technology (CONNCAT) Discovering Amistad, Highville Charter School, and Elm City Internationals.

 

 

 

Photo of Emily Wang

Emily Wang (Transitions MLP)

Dr. Emily Wang is the medical partner at the transitons MLP. She is an Associate Professor at the Yale School of Medicine and Co-Founder of the Transitions Clinic Network. Dr. Wang’s research focuses on promoting health equity for vulnerable populations, especially individuals with a history of incarceration, through both prison and community based interventions. She has developed expertise in training former prisoners to become community health workers and researchers through community based participatory research methods. She is Co-Founder of the Transitions Clinic Network, a consortium of 15 community health centers nationwide dedicated to caring for recently released prisoners and defining best practices for the health care of individuals leaving prison. In 2012, the Transitions Clinic Network was awarded the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation Award to provide care to over 2,000 high-risk, high-cost patients returning from prison and to train and employ former prisoners as community health workers. Dr. Wang is the principal investigator on a number of NIH and institute-funded research projects, including a NHLBI-funded project to improve cardiovascular outcomes in patients with a history of incarceration. She was a member of the Institute of Medicine’s Health and Incarceration Workshop (2012) and Means of Violence Workshop (2014). Dr. Wang has a B.A. from Harvard University, an M.D. from Duke University, and a M.A.S. from the University of California, San Francisco.