The new South Carolina Medical Legal Partnership (MLP) formally connects Furman University, the Greenville Health System and South Carolina Legal Services in work to improve health outcomes for people throughout the Upstate, especially those living in poverty. The partnership—the first of its kind in South Carolina—coordinates and streamlines access to non-medical assistance when a medical problem has roots in or is made worse by a social or legal problem. The South Carolina MLP is the only one in the country—and there are nearly 300 of them, in 41 states—in which the educational institution involved is a liberal arts, undergraduate institution, giving Furman students unique opportunities that can’t be found at peer institutions.
Kirby Mitchell ’90 is a senior litigation attorney with Legal Services. He and Dr. David Gandolfo teach a May Experience course “Poverty, Medicine and the Law: Greenville’s Medical-Legal Partnership”, where students see how social determinants affect people’s health and then ask themselves what can be done about those issues.
Furman students also work as MLP interns. On the medical side of the partnership, they meet with patients and their families to screen for health-harming legal problems, and on the legal side they draft complaints, investigate claims and observe in court. The work interns observe and participate in will not only be useful to the MLP but also in shaping students’ understanding of their own potential. The interns will be preparing for a world in which the lines are more blurred as organizations work together to improve a community’s overall health.
For more information visit the National Center for Medical Legal Partnership website.