Rhode Island MLP for Children

Rhode Island has been a forerunner in the MLP movement, establishing the Rhode Island MLP for Children (RIMLPC) in 2002 between Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence and Rhode Island Legal Services. It now boasts an impressive coalition comprising the Roger Williams School of Law, Brown Medical School, Hasbro and a new legal partner, Rhode Island Center for Law and Public Policy.

L to R RICLAPP President and Attorney, Geoffrey Schoos and RWU Academic, Liz Tobin-Tyler.

In 2003, the law school was the first in the country to offer an interdisciplinary course focused on medical-legal partnership, under the leadership of Roger Williams University School of Law academic Liz Tobin-Tyler. The joint course for law and medical students focusses on the social determinants of health and the law and features a poverty simulation for students to develop a sense of the practical challenges faced by clients/patients.

The 2011 text Poverty, Health and Law: Readings and Cases for Medical-Legal Partnership edited by Liz Tobin-Tyler is in many ways the culmination of this 9 year educational endeavour, providing a treatment of MLP which is not only informative, but immediately accessible through its logical sequencing of history, theory, policy and practice. The text can even be turbo-charged with an accompanying teacher’s kit.

Like Syracuse MLP, the strength of Rhode Island’s MLP course is it’s connection with an effective MLP.

L to R RICLAPP Attorney Ryan McNelis, Hasbro Paediatrician Dr Adam Pallant and RICLAPP Attorney Jeannine Casselman.

“Two RIMLPC attorneys work on-site at Hasbro Children’s Hospital to address the legal needs of low-income pediatric patients and their families. Law students have the opportunity to work on-site at the hospital under the direction of the RIMLPC attorneys through the law school’s externship and public service programs.”1

In combination with on-site medical champions like Dr Adam Pallant, Medical students, enjoy a similar (enthusiastic) exposure to the dynamic interface of poverty, health and law.

Rhode Island has set the standard for collaborative education, taking the multi-disciplinary model from the coal-face to the classroom and back again.

1.Roger Williams School of Law, Medical Legal Partnership, at http://law.rwu.edu/academics/institutes-programs/feinstein-institute-legal-service/community-partnerships/ri-medical-le, accessed 9 April 2012.

Peter Noble

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