Catrina Miksis

  • Hosted by Prairie State Legal Services
  • Sponsored by Deere & Co., Lane & Waterman LLP, Riley Safer Holmes & Cancila LLP
  • Service location Rockford, Illinois
  • Law school University of Illinois College of Law
  • Issue area Medical-Legal Partnership
  • Fellowship class year 2016
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

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

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. A lack of access to resources that are intended to alleviate the harming effects of social determinants of health impacts an individual’s long-term health and well-being. A medical-legal partnership between Prairie State Legal Services and Crusader Community Health will work toward addressing the root causes of civil-legal needs present in the Rockford community.

Fellowship Highlights

In the past two years, Catrina has:

  • Established a referral system for case managers and medical providers at Crusader Community Health to refer patients with legal issues to Prairie State Legal Services.
  • Established an on-site presence with designated working space at Crusader Community Health.
  • Received over 250 referrals for clients seeking legal advice or representation from healthcare providers and case managers.
  • Provided representation and advice to clients in a variety of court and administrative proceedings. Issue areas addressed have included guardianships, family law cases, public benefits denials, housing denials and evictions, expungements, and sealings.

What’s Next

Now that the Fellowship is complete, Catrina plans to:

  • Continue to work as a civil-legal aid attorney with Prairie State Legal Services on the Winnebago County Medical-Legal Partnership.
  • Maintain and expand her current caseload to continue serving the Rockford community.
  • Continue to provide clients with relevant legal advice and representation to ensure every client is able to fairly access the civil legal system.

Meet Other Fellows Like Catrina

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Raegan Joern

Host: Rubicon Programs Inc.

Sponsor: Contra Costa County Bar Association

Amanda Walsh

Host: Legal Council for Health Justice

Sponsor: Baker McKenzie, Walgreen Company

Natalia Botella

Host: Legal Services of Southern Piedmont

Sponsor: Boston Scientific Corporation, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.

George-Marie Jasmin

Host: The Medical Legal Partnership for Children

Sponsor: Greenberg Traurig, LLP