UH Med Now

Medical-Legal Partnership for CHILDREN Wins National Award

Date: May 29th, 2014 in Faculty, JABSOM News    Print or PDF

By Dr. Alicia Turlington

The state’s pioneering Medical-Legal Partnership for Children in Hawai‘i (MLPC) has won national recognition for the free legal services it provides to vulnerable families in tandem with their community-based health care. Both the John A. Burns School of Medicine and the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawaiʻi Mānoa are involved in the partnership.

At the recent 2014 Medical-Legal Partnership Summit held in Seattle, WA, the MLPC Hawai‘i was one of two organizations recognized by the National Center for Medical Legal Partnership (NCMLP) and honored with a “2014 Outstanding Medical-Legal Partnership Award.”

MLPC was founded by lawyer, Dina Shek, as a project of the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawai‘i and Dr. Chris Derauf, from the Department of Pediatrics at John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) in 2009.

Since its beginning, MLPC Hawai‘i has earned the reputation as “a model site” among the National Network of 231 healthcare sites in 34 states for providing exemplary integration of health and legal care to address a broad spectrum of social determinants of health for families it serves.

The MLPC Hawai‘i works within the Kōkua Kalihi Valley Wellness Center, providing legal services to hundreds of families served by the grass-roots community health center. In its five years of operation, the legal team has served more than 500 low-income families and reached hundreds more through community outreach and education.

The national award was presented by NCMLP Board Member Dr. Ed Paul, Director of Medical Education at Yuma Regional Medical Center and Professor of Family & Community Medicine at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

The entire MLPC Hawai‘i team was in Seattle to receive the award, including: Dina Shek, Legal Director and co-founder; Dr. Alicia Turlington, Medical Director and Assistant Clinical Professor in the Dept of Pediatrics; Randy Compton, Staff Attorney; and U‘ilani Goods, Law Fellow. Compton and Goods are both graduates of the WSRSL Ulu Lehua Scholars program.

In her remarks, Shek said: “Our MLP team sees our role as neighbors, as part of the community … We’re not just professionals reaching across disciplines, we’re professionals reaching through the trappings of professionalism to work hand-in-hand, side-by-side, with our patients, clients, children – our community.

“None of us would be in this room today,” Shek continued, “if we didn’t believe that communities we serve are vibrant, full of promise and hope, talented, and often are their own best advocates and carry their own best solutions.”

About MLPC Hawai‘i

MLPC is a project of the University of Hawai‘i William S. Richardson School of Law (WSRSL) and Kōkua Kalihi Valley Comprehensive Family Services (KKV), a federally qualified health center, and John A. Burns School of Medicine, (JABSOM). MLPC lawyers and doctors work together to deliver legal care to patient families on-site at the health center. We do this because there are 50,000 children living in poverty in Hawai‘i who need legal care to be healthy.

On Thursday, April 17, 2014, MLPC Hawaiʻi celebrated its fifth anniversary at KKV’s Wellness Center, honoring and thanking its supporters, partners, and friends, and sharing accomplishments from their first five years.

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