2016 Equal Justice Works Fellow, Catrina Miksis

Catrina Miksis

Name of Host Organization: Prairie State Legal Services, Inc.
City, State: Rockford, Illinois
Issue area: Health Care/Medical-Legal Partnership
Sponsors: Deere & Company; Lane & Waterman LLP; Riley Safer Holmes & Cancila LLP

The Project

Disrupt the impact of poverty on social determinants of health for low-income residents of Rockford, Illinois through creation of a medical-legal partnership that provides direct legal representation.

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project: 
Over 25% of the population of Rockford, IL lived below the poverty line between 2009 and 2013, the highest rate of poverty in Illinois, and research has shown that socioeconomic status is strongly correlated to health outcomes, particularly for low-income individuals. Income, education, employment, housing, food security, and social inclusion all affect health, and as many as 50-85% of health center clients have health-harming civil-legal needs.
The Right Person For This Project: 
Catrina is the right person for the project because:
• She has lived in Illinois her entire life and is passionate about ensuring that all individuals, regardless of income level, have access to care that addresses the root causes of health-harming legal needs
• Prior to law school, she worked in healthcare facility operations and payer systems and worked directly with medical providers
• During law school, Catrina interned with several public interest organizations in Illinois and provided direct legal assistance to low-income clients

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