MLPB’s Evidence-Based Approach to Advancing Health Through Justice Spotlighted in Health Affairs

Jeff Gilbert, Partnership & Project Manager – MLPB
617-336-7500 x461

Boston, MA: Yesterday, Health Affairs published a long-form blog on Legal Information and Rights Education as an Element of Care: A Promising Health Justice Strategy, authored by MLPB CEO Samantha Morton. Communities of care are increasingly aware of the connections between health inequities (tied to structural drivers of health) and justice; yet identifying feasible and impactful next steps can seem elusive and overwhelming. MLPB’s team-facing legal partnering approach – focused on building problem-solving capacity in care teams – offers an actionable, evidence-based strategy that can be incorporated now.

Drawing upon recent evidence generated in the pediatric and early childhood landscape, the piece:

  • Orients readers to the concept of preventive law and why – alongside preventive health care – it is essential for health, wellbeing and dignity yet is out of reach for so many people.
  • Lauds the promising evidence generated over the last 15 months by two initiatives – DULCE and Housing Prescriptions as Health Care – that integrated legal rights education within interdisciplinary care teams. (MLPB was the team-facing legal partner in the original DULCE trial and in the Housing Prescriptions pilot – a capacity-building role that is unique and distinct from the more familiar legal role of providing direct representation/case handling.)
  • Reinforces that legal problem-solving is not the exclusive province of licensed attorneys; rather, many care team members can responsibly share empowering legal information with the people they serve.
  • Urges close attention to legal partner recruiting since conflicts of interest can and do arise between systems and the people they serve.

“Investing in legal rights education is critical for effective social care – this goes well beyond dominant ‘screen-and-refer’ protocols and not only strengthens team-based care, but surfaces where system and policy change are urgent,” said Jeannine Casselman, MLPB’s Law & Policy Director.

Morton will present on the blog’s themes on Wednesday, 6/9/2021 at 11:15am EST / 8:15am PST as part of the National Virtual Health Equity Summit, a convening drawing 6K+ attendees. Registration (which is free) is open here. Also, on Monday, June 21 at 3pm EST / 12n PST, MLPB will host a one-hour virtual public eventStrengthening the Social Care Toolbox with Legal Rights Education – featuring colleagues from both DULCE and Housing Prescriptions as Health Care. Registration information is available here.

About MLPB: MLPB pioneered team-facing legal partnering, which equips communities of care with legal education and problem-solving insight and fosters prevention, health equity and system change. Human-centered care must systematically account for people’s legal rights, risks and remedies; and empower care team members to be active partners in legal problem-solving in scope-of-practice-aligned ways. Through training, consultation, telementoring and technical assistance, MLPB helps teams and organizations understand their power to unlock access to health-promoting resources and legal protections. MLPB stands independent of any health, legal or academic institution, operating under the 501(c)(3) umbrella of TSNE MissionWorks and serving partners in MA, RI and nationally through the DULCE Learning Network and other initiatives.