Immigrant-focused Medical Legal Partnerships: A Practical Innovation to Improve Immigrant Health and Social Well-being

Athena K. Ramos, Anna Deal, Sophia A. Quintero, Fernando A. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Problem: Immigration status is an important social determinant of health that can limit access to health care and related services. Few medical legal partnerships (MLPs) address immigration-related legal needs of patients. Purpose of Article: An immigrant-focused MLP (IMLP) addresses immigration legal needs and provides advice to vulnerable patient-clients and their families regarding potential legal consequences of accessing health care and other public benefits. In this article, we outline the core elements of an IMLP and provide case examples from our ongoing IMLPs. Key Points: Although many of the core elements of an IMLP are similar to those of an MLP, an IMLP focuses specifically on immigration-related legal needs of patient-clients. IMLPs can complement and extend MLP services by providing legal assistance to non-citizen immigrant individuals and mixed status families. Conclusions: IMLPs may improve immigrant patient-clients’ health and social well-being and create eligibility for public benefits. An IMLP can be a scalable innovation to improve access to health and legal services. Challenges to institutional-izing an IMLP may include limited sustainable funding, few legal service providers with immigration expertise and capac-ity, patient-client identification, and the politicized nature of immigration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)135-143
Number of pages9
JournalProgress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action
Volume17
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2023

Keywords

  • Immigration
  • access to care
  • immigrant health
  • legal status
  • medical-legal partnership
  • social determinants of health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science

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