June 23, 2011 14:30 Age: 3 yrs

Recent Grad Named Inaugural Fellow of Health Justice Project

Recent Emory Law graduate Allyson Gold 11L has been named the inaugural law fellow of the Health Justice Project at Loyola University Chicago School of Law. The project is Loyola's newly established medical-legal partnership law clinic, which connects law students and attorneys with local health care providers and social workers to address issues that negatively impact the health of their low-income patients.

Given Gold’s interests and experience in the legal field, the two-year fellowship seems tailor-made for her.

Gold chose to attend law school specifically to work on affordable housing issues. She focused her undergraduate honors thesis at University of Virginia on U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) programs to improve housing for low-income persons and, prior to law school, worked for two years in Washington, D.C., helping tenants assert their rights under the law.

Following her second year at Emory, Gold received a fellowship to work with the Lawyers Committee for Better Housing in Chicago. It was there that she began to see an overlap in affording housing cases and health-related cases.

“I became interested in medical-legal partnerships particularly because they provide such an effective structure to deal with the problems that come up when you’re working with low-income tenants in poor housing conditions,” Gold says. For example, she says, often a doctor can discover that a patient’s asthma is the result of, or exacerbated by, toxic mold in the person’s apartment.

“That’s when the clinic gets involved,” Gold says, “taking on those cases that get referred to us from medical personnel or social workers. When you get sick, you think about calling your doctor first, not your lawyer.”

Working with the Lawyers Committee for Better Housing also helped Gold connect with the Health Justice Project’s director, Professor Emily Benfer, as did her field placement at the Health Law Partnership in Atlanta.

“Sylvia Caley, the director of the Health Law Partnership, had been an advisor to Professor Benfer when she was setting up the clinic at Loyola,” Gold says. “The opportunity to work at the Health Law Partnership through Emory’s field placement program was definitely a significant factor in helping me obtain this fellowship.”

Gold is looking forward to starting the fellowship at the Health Justice Project in August after she completes the Bar exam this summer, saying that she won “the jackpot of jobs.”

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