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R I Med J (2013). 2013 Jul 1;96(7):23-6.

Optimizing the health impacts of civil legal aid interventions: the public health framework of medical-legal partnerships.

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Lead Research Scientist & Co-Principal Investigator, National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership, Department of Health Policy, The George Washington University.


Research documents the significance of the social determinants of health - the social and environmental conditions in which people live, work and play. A critical foundation of these social and environmental conditions are laws and regulations, which construct the environments in which individuals and populations live, influencing how and when people face disease. Increasingly, healthcare providers, public health professionals and lawyers concerned with social determinants are joining forces to form Medical-Legal Partnerships (MLPs) which offer a preventive approach to address the complex social, legal and systemic problems that affect the health of vulnerable populations. Now in more than 500 health and legal institutions across the country, including Rhode Island, MLP is a healthcare delivery model that integrates legal assistance as a vital component of healthcare. This article explores the many benefits of the MLP model for improving patient health, transforming medical and legal practice and institutions and generating policy changes that specifically address health disparities and social determinants.


health disparities; healthcare reform; medical-legal partnership; social determinants

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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