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UB Law Partners with Other Stakeholders to Hold Medical-Legal Partnership Event

By Ilene Fleischmann

Release Date: June 2, 2011

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Seeking to help navigate the gap between law, health care and community services for low-income patients and their hospitals, a consortium of Western New York schools and non-profit agencies is banding together to bring the Medical Legal Partnership (MLP) to Buffalo, where they will hold their first local conference on June 9 from 1-4 p.m. at Hospice Buffalo, 225 Como Park Blvd., Cheektowaga.

Two free Continuing Legal Education credits will be available for attorneys who attend.

The MLP planning committee is comprised of the University at Buffalo Law School, Neighborhood Legal Services, the UB School of Social Work, the UB Civic Engagement and Public Policy Strategic Strength Office, Hospice Buffalo, the Evans-Devereux Memorial Fund and others.

Elsewhere in the nation, MLPs help improve access to health care and health care outcomes for underserved populations. For example, a family forced, by poverty or other circumstances, to choose between food and heat in the winter months is unlikely to be successfully treated with a prescription or a vaccination, says UB Law Professor Kim Diana Connolly, director of Clinical Legal Education and moderator for the conference.

"Medical-legal partnerships integrate lawyers as a vital component of the health care team," she says. "The concept is to transform institutions and influence policy change to positively influence non-medical determinants of health.

"A lack of food, utilities, child support, mold removal and other basic life needs can prevent optimum health. Lawyers and other legal professionals can support those in the health care profession to change lives."

Presenters will include:

-- Barry Zuckerman, founder of the National Center for Medical Legal Partnerships, chair of the Department of Pediatrics, Boston Medical Center, Joel and Barbara Professor of Pediatrics, Boston University School of Medicine, and Professor of Pediatrics, Boston University School of Medicine.

-- Steven Blatt, MD, from the Department of Pediatrics, SUNY Upstate Medical Center

-- Randye Retkin, Esq., director, LegalHealth and the New York Legal Assistance Group

-- Kathleen Grimm, MD, University Internal Medicine/Pediatrics Adolescent Division of Women & Children's Hospital

-- Professor Kim Diana Connolly, director of Clinical Legal Education, UB Law School.

Registration information for the conference is available at http://www.nls.org.

The University at Buffalo Law School will offer 2.0 non-transitional CLE credits in the area of Skills for this event. The Law School has been certified by the New York State Continuing Legal Education Board as an Accredited Provider of continuing legal education in the State of New York for the period of March 11, 2011 to March 10, 2014. For further information on UB's CLE policy, contact Lisa Mueller at 716-645-3176.