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What Is Health Justice?

A career in health justice provides a chance to further explore the healthcare field beyond the administrative lens. Health justice careers intersect the disciplines of policy, law, community, social work, and psychology to institute medical reform through public, private, and governmental avenues. Whether taken as a concentration in our Masters in Healthcare Administration program, or as a Post-Bachelor Certificate, health justice can help open doors to new and exciting healthcare careers.

 

What is Health Justice?

At its core, health justice revolves around the collaboration between the legal field and the healthcare system. This collaboration is often referred to as medical-legal partnerships (MLPs). These partnerships aim to address and solve medical issues that have underlying legal cause or implication. By addressing these issues in tandem with healthcare providers and patients, medical-legal partnerships strive to enhance patient care and overall health outcomes for those often-facing challenges accessing healthcare

 

What is the Need for Medical-Legal Partnerships?

Many health problems extend beyond biological factors and are instead influenced by the social determinants of health. The social determinates of health include but are not limited to income disparities, housing conditions, education levels, employment challenges, and legal status. Health justice aims to help those facing the social determinates of health can receive better representation and care through medical-legal partnerships. For instance, a one patient’s health might show continuous deterioration due to living in substandard housing or a hazardous work environment. Through health justice and medical-legal partnerships, these social determinates can be better identified and addressed. In tandem with healthcare providers who provide healthcare services, legal remedies might be necessary to help remediate the situation and improve the living or working conditions of the patient.

 

How do Medical-Legal Partnerships and Health Justice Intersect

In a medical-legal partnership, lawyers work directly with medical teams to assist patients in resolving legal issues that impact their health. These might include securing safe housing, navigating immigration processes, or advocating for vulnerable groups like children and the elderly. By combining legal and medical expertise, these partnerships not only improve patient outcomes but also have the potential to reduce overall healthcare costs. Health justice roles aim to bridge these gaps while working to assist with the legal, medical, and patient-care support and advocacy roles.

 

Who Benefits from Medical-Legal Partnerships?

The benefits of medical-legal partnerships are multifaceted. Patients gain access to legal assistance that can directly influence their health, leading to better health outcomes and improved quality of life. Medical professionals receive crucial support from legal experts, enabling them to address broader health determinants more effectively. Furthermore, professionals from across various disciplines—law, policy, healthcare, community health, psychology, social work, and public health—can engage with medical-legal partnership, gaining valuable insights and contributing to the advancement of equitable healthcare policies and practices- representing a significant step toward a more inclusive and just healthcare system.

By addressing the social determinants of health through a collaborative, interdisciplinary approach, health justice aims to create lasting improvements in patient care and overall public health.

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