KU News Release

Oct. 13, 2011
Contact: Mindie Paget, School of Law, 785-864-9205

Recent grad serving as fellow to Medical Legal Partnership Clinic

Hannah Sandal

More Information

LAWRENCE — A spring 2011 graduate of the University of Kansas School of Law has been tapped as the newest fellow to the school’s Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic.

Hannah Sandal is serving the clinic for 11 months through a postgraduate fellowship program established with a grant from the Sunflower Foundation of Topeka. The program enables the law school to expand and enhance the medical-legal partnership model in Kansas.

“The Medical-Legal Partnership Fellow has the fortunate opportunity to attack barriers to both health care and justice from three directions,” Sandal said. “First, I will be able to provide much-needed, free legal services on a one-on-one basis. Second, I will have the opportunity to evaluate those barriers – and the means of overcoming them – and push for policy changes through writing and presenting. Third, I will be involved in teaching and guiding law students in their efforts to empathize with their clients and better serve those in need.”

Medical-legal partnerships aim to improve the health and well-being of individuals and families by integrating legal assistance into the medical setting. The law school launched its Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic in January 2008 in partnership with Southwest Boulevard Family Health Care in Kansas City, Kan. The clinic now works with three additional medical partners to help improve community health outcomes: the JayDoc Free Clinic and the Department of Family Medicine at the KU Medical Center, both in Kansas City, Kan., and the Health Care Access Clinic in Lawrence.

Working under faculty and clinic staff supervision, law students provide legal assistance to clients referred to them through the medical clinics, engaging in interviewing, counseling, negotiation and other aspects of the legal process. Sandal will represent clients and supervise students. She will also assist acting clinic director Eunice-Lee Ahn in maintaining and developing relationships with other medical-legal partnerships, legal services providers, health care providers and funders.

Before completing her law degree at KU, Sandal earned a bachelor’s in Asian Studies from Cornell University. At KU, she served as vice president of the KU Animal Legal Defense Fund and a first-year clerk for the KU International Law Society. She laid the foundation for her current position by participating in the Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic. Sandal also interned for both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Kansas City, Kan.

The law school’s fellowship program has been a springboard for leadership roles in the medical-legal partnership field. Lee-Ahn, last year’s fellow and a 2010 graduate of the law school, currently heads up the clinic. She is one of 15 members of the Sunflower Foundation Advocacy Fellowship class, a yearlong program that helps participants become better advocates, inform public policy, and create solutions for those in need. She has also accepted an invitation to serve on a regional health equity council as part of a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services project to reduce racial and ethnic health disparities.

Inaugural fellow Trinia Arellano, a 2009 KU law school graduate, is now working in a two-year, paid internship with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Emerging Leaders Program.

Sandal hopes to continue in this tradition.

“I decided to go to law school because I wanted to have powerful tools in the effort to make the world more just and peaceful,” she said. “As the Medical-Legal Partnership Fellow, I am excited to have multiple avenues through which to pursue this aspiration. This partnership between lawyers, doctors, nurses and social workers can empower our patient-clients to overcome barriers to health and justice and to reach their goals.”

The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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