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Jessica Kleinman

2014, Equal Justice Works Fellowships, Jessica Kleinman

Jessica Kleinman

Name of Host Organization: Children’s Law Center
City, State: Washington, District of Columbia
Issue area: Health Care/Medical-Legal Partnership, Children/Youth
Sponsors: Johnson & Johnson, Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP

The Project

Jessica provided legal services, outreach, and advocacy in the areas of housing, education, and access to healthcare to low-income families in Washington, D.C. (DC) who are confronting health-harming legal barriers to managing their children’s asthma. This fellowship extends Children’s Law Center’s (CLC) existing medical-legal partnership (MLP) with Children’s National Health System’s IMPACT DC, Mary’s Center for Maternal and Child Health Care and Unity Health Care Minnesota Avenue Clinic by focusing on asthma.

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project
One in five children living in DC has asthma, a rate substantially higher than any state in the nation. Additionally, children living in poverty are at greater risk of acute and severe asthma attacks that lead to more emergency room (ER) visits, hospitalizations and death. In large part this risk is due to substandard housing, lack of access to critical preventive health care, and schools who are not providing adequate supports. Health providers are the first responders for children with asthma, and as such are best positioned to screen for non-medical issues that are impacting a child’s health. Ensuring that a lawyer is part of the treatment team for low-income families strengthens the team’s capacity to impact a child’s health. Embedding legal services within the clinical intervention team helps to ensure children are not denied access to necessary medications, healthy housing and accommodations in school.