Addressing Social Determinants Of Health Through Medical-Legal Partnerships
Author: Marsha Regenstein, Jennifer Trott, Alanna Williamson, Joanna Theiss
The US health care system needs effective tools to address complex social and environmental issues that perpetuate health inequities, such as food insecurity, education and employment barriers, and substandard housing conditions. The medical-legal partnership is a collaborative intervention that embeds civil legal aid professionals in health care settings to address seemingly intractable social problems that contribute to poor health outcomes and health disparities. More than three hundred health care organizations are home to medical-legal partnerships. This article draws upon national survey data and field research to identify three models of the medical-legal partnership that health care organizations have adopted and the core elements of infrastructure that they share. Financing and commitment from health care organizations are key considerations for sustaining and scaling up the medical-legal partnership as a health equity intervention.