Sept. 2021 Newsletter

Care should account for people’s legal rights, risks, and remedies.

In the news
MLPB Featured in FXB Center’s “The Intersection” Interview Series

“Rights [aren’t] real . . . for human beings until they are codified in law and public policy [and enforced] . . . . Communities of care . . . should be accounting for people’s legal risks, rights and remedies in all of their care delivery and planning.”

-MLPB CEO Samantha Morton

Other themes from the interview — recorded in March 2021 — include the importance of balancing crisis management with prevention, and policy priorities like affordable housing generation, community health worker advancement, and legal professional responsibility rule reform.

“The Intersection,” a production of the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University, is a series of interviews with health and human rights experts. Previous interviews have featured Michael Curry, President and CEO of the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers, Dr. Renee Boynton-Jarrett, Founding Director of the Vital Village Network, Jill Shah, President of the Shah Family Foundation and writer and medical ethicist Harriet Washington. For more information on the series, visit the FXB Center’s YouTube channel.

NIH-Funded Study Explores Benefits of Legal Support in HIV Care

Congratulations to Omar Martinez of the Temple University School of Social Work and colleagues on their new NIH-sponsored study that will examine how legal partnering can enhance care for people living with HIV. MLPB is honored to be part of the study team and will contribute, among other things, insight on how care team capacity-building and patient-facing legal services are complementary but distinct functions/roles

Ideas in Motion
Aligning in Action: MLPB

In July, MLPB was profiled by RWJF’s Aligning Systems for Health initiative, directed by the Georgia Health Policy Center.  The brief details MLPB’s organizational evolution emphasizing prevention and features insight on cross-sector alignment from valued colleagues at Community Care Cooperative and the Boston Public Health Commission

DULCE Dialogue at the 2021 Public Health Law Conference

Another example of Aligning in Action, this time anchored in an early childhood system lens: Last week, MLPB’s Law & Policy Director Jeannine Casselman joined valued DULCE colleagues from First 5 Orange County and the Public Law Center to present on Optimizing Newborn Health through Legal Partnering: Lessons from Orange County. Thank you to the Network for Public Health Law and the American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics for inviting this conversation!

For more information about DULCE (Developmental Understanding and Legal Collaboration for Everyone), its multi-sector alignments, and legal partnering, check out this blog and this research brief

Digital Digest Spotlight

Designed for teams committed to human-centered social care, MLPB’s Digital Digest distills key law and policy updates across many domains of health-related social need that impact individuals, families, and communities. 

Two looming dates are especially important for the social care “toolbox.” Both are featured in the Digest:  

  • The Child Tax Credit (CTC) filing deadline of October 15, 2021 is fast approaching! Families still can apply for monthly CTC payments of $250-$300 per child. Eligible families who did not have enough income to file a 2020 tax return can enroll online using the Non-filer Sign-up Tool. For more information on how to sign up for CTC payments, visit
  • Winter is around the corner and it’s time to prepare for safe and affordable heating! Starting tomorrow, October 1, 2021families can submit new applications for fuel assistance (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program or LIHEAP) and utility bill discounts through their local Massachusetts or Rhode Island Community Action Agency. 


. . . to our 2021 fall interns!  

Chloe Lo

I’m a senior at Boston University, majoring in Health Science. At Boston University, I am involved with the Badminton Club and Wizards, a club aimed at promoting STEM education to students in Boston public schools. Last summer, I interned at a law firm in Hong Kong which finalized my decision to apply to law school. Since my interests also lie within the health sciences, I am extremely excited to learn more about how law and public health are interconnected.

Allie Mundis

I’m a current senior at Brandeis University, majoring in Health: Science, Society, and Policy (HSSP), and Sociology, with a minor in Social Justice and Social Policy. In addition to interning at MLPB this semester, I’m also an undergraduate researcher at the Lurie Center for Disability Policy, and am conducting quantitative research on health disparities facing people with disabilities. I’m passionate about the social determinants of health, public health, and health policy. I’m excited to better understand how law can be used as a tool to promote health equity for all. 

Lindsay Peigh

I am a senior at Tufts University double majoring in Spanish and Community Health with a minor in Philosophy. As a Community Health student, I’m inspired to examine the connections between one’s well being and access to health-related resources. I am interested in pursuing a career in the public health field with a focus on law and policy and social determinants of health. I am very excited to be interning for MLPB this semester, and look forward to developing a better understanding of law as a health-promoting lever for individuals and populations. 

On our mind

Access to Justice, Civil Rights & Health
Seeking COVID Justice Through Policy Change (California Health Care Foundation, Sep. 13, 2021)
Environmental Racism And Climate Change — Missed Diagnoses (The New England Journal of Medicine, Sep. 9, 2021)
Population Health And Human Rights (The New England Journal of Medicine, Sep. 2, 2021)

Disparities, Equity & Social Health Integration
Using Area-Level Measures To Account For Social Risk In Health Care Payment (Health Affairs Blog, Sep. 16, 2021)
An Equity Agenda For The Field Of Health Care Quality Improvement (National Academy of Medicine, Sep. 15, 2021)
COVID-19 Mortality At The Neighborhood Level: Racial and Ethnic Inequalities Deepened In Minnesota In 2020 (Health Affairs, Sep. 15, 2021) (subscription required)
A New Effort To Address Racial And Ethnic Disparities In Care Through Quality Measurement (Health Affairs Blog, Sep. 9, 2021)
How Do Healthcare Workers Face Social Determinants of Health? (Patient Engagement HIT, Sep. 8, 2021)
Incorporation Of Social Risk In US Preventive Services Task Force Recommendations And Identification Of Key Challenges For Primary Care (JAMA, Sep. 1, 2021)
Social Prescribing in National Health Service Primary Care: What Are the Ethical Considerations (The Milbank Quarterly, Sep. 2021)
Provider Impacts of Socioeconomic Risk Screening and Referral Programs: A Systematic Scoping Review (Social Interventions Research & Evaluation Network, Aug. 2021)

Food Access
To Bring Food Into Health, We Must Bring Health To The Food System (Health Affairs Blog, Sep. 27, 2021)
Food Insecurity Among Health Care Workers In The US (Health Affairs, Sep. 2021)
‘Food Insecurity is a Silent Problem’: Hungry Mass. Households Doubled During Pandemic (The Boston Globe, Aug. 22, 2021)
Biden Administration Prompts Largest Permanent Increase in Food Stamps (The New York Times, Aug. 15, 2021)

Housing & Health
Almost Half A Million US Households Lack Indoor Plumbing: ‘The Conditions Are Inhumane’ (The Guardian, Sep. 27, 2021) 
California Is Ending A Rule That Helped Cause Its Housing Crisis (Vox, Sep. 17, 2021)
Always Pay The Rent? It May Help Your Mortgage Application (The New York Times, Sep. 11, 2021)
Ecological Associations Between Inclusionary Zoning Policies And Cardiovascular Disease Risk Prevalence: An Observational Study (American Heart Association, Sep. 8, 2021)
Mass. Renters On the South Coast Were Twice As Likely to Be Evicted, Despite Federal Moratorium (WBUR News, Sep. 8, 2021)
As Federal Eviction Moratorium Ends, Can Cities Alone Stop the Wave? (TheBoston Globe, Sep. 1, 2021)
New York Passes Bill Extending Eviction Moratorium to January (The New York Times, Sep. 1, 2021)
Closing The Housing Opportunity Gap: Investing In Vouchers Improves Neighborhoods And Health (Children’s HealthWatch, Sep. 2021)
Eviction: A Preventable Cause Of Adverse Child And Family Health (Children’s HealthWatch, Sep. 2021)
Economic Evidence Supports Housing Voucher Programs (The Community Guide, Aug. 31, 2021)
Eviction Moratoria Expiration and COVID-19 Infection Risk Across Strata of Health and Socioeconomic Status in the United States (JAMA Network Open, Aug. 31, 2021)
Janey and Health Officials Ban Evictions in Boston, Even as Moratoriums Come Under Fire (The Boston Globe, Aug. 31, 2021)
About 89% of Rental Assistance Funds Have Not Been Distributed, Figures Show (The New York Times, Aug. 25, 2021)
Medical Respite Care Bridges Critical Gap for Californians Without Housing (California Health Care Foundation, Aug. 25, 2021)
‘Grandfamily’ Housing Caters to Older Americans Raising Children (The New York Times, Aug. 19, 2021)

Maternal and Child Health
Firearm Relinquishment Laws Associated With Substantial Reduction In Homicide of Pregnant and Postpartum Women (Health Affairs, Sep. 22, 2021) subscription required
Racial and Ethnic Inequities In Children’s Neighborhoods: Evidence From The New Child Opportunity Index 2.0 (Health Affairs, Oct. 2020)
Paid Leave: An Opportunity To Reduce Racial And Ethnic Disparities In Maternal And Child Health (1,000 Days, 2021)