News & Events

Region's first medical-legal partnership announced

Published On 09/23/2015

Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, Memphis Area Legal Services and The University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law

The first medical-legal partnership of its kind in the region is a collaborative effort among The University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law, Memphis Area Legal Services (MALS) and Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. Called Memphis CHiLD (Children’s Health Law Directive), the partnership focuses on identifying the legal and social issues that impact patient health and providing means to address these issues though direct legal services, education and advocacy for children and their families.

In addition to a variety of training programs and educational, bi-directional partnerships, Memphis CHiLD also consists of an on-site Legal Clinic located at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, where Memphis Law students enrolled in the clinic have devoted space to work on cases and referrals, meet with patients/clients, and conduct training sessions. Medical professionals and Le Bonheur residents will have access to the clinic as well, and will have direct involvement in the Memphis CHiLD Legal Clinic training sessions and learning opportunities available through the program.

The three partners are providing:

  • The University of Memphis School of Law hired one professor to oversee the Legal Clinic and has enrolled four students for the Fall 2015 semester, with plans for eight students after the initial semester.
  • Memphis Area Legal Services (MALS) has contributed one full-time attorney and one full-time caseworker to the clinic, both of whom will be directly involved in the day-to-day education and oversight of clinic work and case referrals, as well as introducing the Legal Clinic to the Memphis legal community and dealing with outside attorneys interested in assisting with pro bono work in the program.
  • In addition to providing the physical clinic space for the students and legal staff, Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital has several senior administrative staff members involved with the project, as well as a variety of medical professionals and residents who will take part in both the educational aspects of the clinic, as well as the associated training.

The initial focus of the partnership will be helping children with severe asthma who are enrolled in Le Bonheur’s CHAMP program (Changing High-Risk Asthma in Memphis through Partnership). CHAMP aims to reduce emergency department visits and reduce asthma episodes. Memphis CHiLD will help families with legal, social and health barriers like mold in rental housing.