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The Role of Medical-Legal Partnership in Promoting Health Equity

Resource Topic: Social Determinants of Health, Special and Vulnerable Populations

Resource Subtopic: Health Equity, Population Health.

Keywords: Access to Care, Health Systems, Medical Legal Partnerships (MLPs).

Year Developed: 2018

Resource Type: Publication

Primary Audience: Clinicians, Enabling Staff
Secondary Audience: PCAs

Language: English

Developed by: National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership (See other resources developed by this organization).

Resource Summary: This article shares how more than nearly 400 hospitals, health centers, and clinics across the U.S. are using legal services to treat issues–including housing, access to insurance, and stable guardianship–that drive health inequities. This commentary was published as part of a special edition of Health Affairs on “Advancing Health Equity.”

Resource Details: The authors drew on national survey findings and field research to identify multiple models for delivering medical-legal partnership services in clinical settings ranging from pediatric primary care clinics serving low-income neighborhoods, to health centers with highly specialized programs for complex, chronic conditions. While the models of delivery vary, the article identifies eight core elements that define the MLP intervention. Recommendations for growth and scale include more sustainable funding, increased alignment with other SDOH clinical initiatives, and practical operational guidance.

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $6,375,000 with 0 percentage financed with non-governmental sources. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS, or the U.S. Government. For more information, please visit