University Hospitals Extends Reach to Low-Income Neighborhoods

University Hospitals in Cleveland, OH, will launch an exciting medical-legal partnership (MLP) with the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland this summer. It will open the doors to the Rainbow Center for Women and Children, serving two of Cleveland’s most underserved neighborhoods.

Crain’s Cleveland Business wrote about the partnership, which is funded by Cleveland law firm Benesch. Through this five-year partnership, lawyers will be available to help lower-income Cleveland families receive legal assistance for issues related to housing, immigration, education and family law. Low income families also benefit from neighborhood medical support that was previously unavailable in the Hough and Fairfax neighborhoods.

One goal of the MLP is to help families address and overcome the Social Determinants of Health – the societal factors that impact the health of a community.

According to a 2017 report by the Health Policy Institute of Ohio, of the modifiable factors impacting overall health, 20% are attributed to clinical care (i.e., healthcare quality and access); 50% are related to social determinants such as housing, transportation, education and employment; and 30% to health-related behaviors.

Maternal and child health and well-being are linked closely to the Social Determinants of Health. The MLP partnership may be valuable to local initiatives, such as First Year Cleveland, a consortium of non- and for-profit organizations determined to lower the Infant Mortality Rates in Cuyahoga County. In 2018, First Year Cleveland engaged Advocacy & Communication Solutions (ACS) to develop the initiative’s engagement and public policy plan.

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