Health Disparities

Civil Rights; medical legal partnership; health law; disability lawThe heart of this project is the Medical Legal Partnership, launched in 2003. This is an innovative collaboration between the Community Health Team at the Massachusetts General Hospital Health Care Center in Chelsea and a staff attorney from the Lawyers’ Committee,

The goal is to improve the material well-being of low-income immigrants and refugees who receive their medical care at MGH.

The pediatricians and mental health providers refer their patients to the Lawyers’ Committee attorney who is on-site one day a week and who provides direct pro bono legal assistance in landlord/tenant matters, disability benefits, child support, unemployment compensation and naturalization assistance.

While there are more than 150 Medical-Legal Partnerships throughout the United States, the Chelsea MGH program is unique in linking a civil rights attorney to a community health team composed of 16 medically certified interpreters, experienced case managers and social workers, and specialists in infant-parent care.

In addition to staffing the Medical–Legal Partnership, the Health Project works closely with other organizations in the Disparities Action Network to create an Office of Health Equity in the executive branch. Another goal of this Project is to reduce lead paint poisoning in low-income areas by strengthening enforcement and conducting community education.