KU News Release
September 6, 2012
Contact: Mindie Paget, School of Law, 785-864-9205
Recent graduate to serve as fellow to KU law school’s Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic
LAWRENCE – A spring 2012 graduate of the University of Kansas School of Law has been selected as the newest fellow to the school’s Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic.
Dana Pugh will serve in that capacity for 12 months through a postgraduate fellowship program established through a grant from the Sunflower Foundation of Topeka. The program, entering its fourth year, enables the law school to expand and enhance the medical-legal partnership model in Kansas.
“We welcome Dana as the fourth Medical-Legal Partnership Post-Graduate Fellow,” said Katie Cronin, clinical associate professor and director of the clinic. “Through the law school’s Journey to J.D. program, she had the opportunity to share her enthusiasm for the law and commitment to social justice with a new generation of future lawyers, an experience that will carry forward as she serves as a mentor to clinic participants. Her work with veterans’ disability benefits law will provide practical case-handling experience that will allow her to hit the ground running in her legal representation of the low-income patients of our medical partner facilities.”
Pugh said the fellowship presented a unique opportunity to contribute to both the legal and medical fields outside of the traditional law practice.
“While I will still be providing a variety of much-needed legal services to the under-served in the greater Kansas City area, I will also have many opportunities to contribute to the integration of the medical and legal practices through client service, education, and partnership building,” Pugh said. “By building partnerships with health care providers and community resources, we can work as a team to provide clients with complete and integrated care to address their health and legal needs.”
“In addition, I will have a chance to network and collaborate with other medical-legal partnerships, both in Kansas and throughout the country, in hopes of developing a long-term, sustainable model that can continue to provide these needed services for many years to come."
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 – the first in Kansas – in January 2008 in partnership with Southwest Boulevard Family Health Care in Kansas City, Kan. It has since expanded to partner with the medical student-run JayDoc Free Clinic, the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Kansas Medical Center, and the Health Care Access Clinic in Lawrence, Kan. Working under faculty and clinic staff supervision, law students provide legal assistance to clients referred to by the clinic’s medical partners, engaging in interviewing, counseling, negotiation and other aspects of the legal process.
Pugh will represent clients and supervise students in the Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic. She will also assist Cronin in maintaining and developing relationships with medical partners, specifically the residents and medical students in the Department of Family Medicine and the medical student board that runs the JayDoc Free Clinic. Additionally, she will research methods of sustainability employed by other medical-legal partnerships, both inside and outside of the law school setting.
A native of Eureka, Kan., Pugh earned a bachelor’s in justice studies with a minor in political science from Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kan., and a law degree from KU. She follows in the footsteps of KU law graduates Trinia Arellano, Eunice Lee-Ahn and Hannah Sandal, the program’s first three fellows, who have all gone on to pursue careers in government, health or MLP law, or in academia. Arellano is now the regulatory counsel at the Food and Drug Administration.
“My experience in the Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic awakened my interest in legal and social justice,” said Sandal, the most recent fellow. “I certainly developed essential lawyering skills, but I also learned how to use those skills to make the world a better place.”
Cronin said the Sunflower Foundation recently renewed the fellowship grant for another year, following the tremendous success of the first three-year grant.
“We are thrilled that the Sunflower Foundation has decided to renew the fellowship funding. The fellows have played a critical role in enhancing our relationships with new and existing medical partners,” she said. “This year, part of Dana’s work will focus on surveying the sustainability methods employed by other law school and community-based MLPs and then sharing her findings with the Kansas MLP community. This work will allow our MLP clinic and MLPs throughout the state to continue to use the law as a tool to address the health issues that arise where Kansans live, learn, work and play.”
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