Jennifer Goodwin

  • Hosted by Legal Aid of Arkansas
  • Sponsored by Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, Walmart
  • Service location Little Rock, Arkansas
  • Law school University of Arkansas, Little Rock, Bowen School of Law
  • Issue area Medical-Legal Partnership
  • Fellowship class year 2017
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Jen is providing legal advocacy and outreach to children and their families at Arkansas Children’s Hospital through Medical Legal Partnership. She is working to solve social and legal needs for patients who are newly injured or newly diagnosed to ease their transition back home.

Sixty percent of a person’s health is determined by social and environmental factors including housing, access to healthy food, health care, education, and income. The American Bar Association reports that low-income individuals in the U.S. generally have 2-3 unmet civil legal needs that can be harmful to health. The benefits that enable low-income families to access these necessities are often wrongfully denied or under enforced, which can directly affect health. Through Medical Legal Partnership, these social determinants of health can be addressed with a profound effect on the overall health of patients.

Highlights to Date

In the first year, Jen has:

  • Met with the NICU team to establish an inpatient screener so that each family will be screened prior to discharge for any legal needs.
  • Implemented screeners in the high-risk newborn clinic to identify any legal needs that may have surfaced after discharge from the hospital.
  • Helped train the physicians and staff at the GPC clinic to roll out legal screeners for all well-child check-ups.
  • Provided extended representation to 17 clients in the areas of education, social security, divorce, custody and guardianship as well as offering advice and brief services to 85 others.
  • Presented at the Psychosocial Grand Rounds at Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH) and to the healthcare team at the new Northwest campus of ACH.
  • Met with six nurse managers from different inpatient clinics to discuss screener opportunities moving forward.

What’s Next

In the next year, Jen plans to:

  • Continue to effectively implement and operate the NICU and High-Risk Newborn screeners.
  • Determine where the implementation of new screeners at ACH will have the most impact.
  • Partner with sponsors to host a clinic to offer Wills and related documents for patients and their families.
  • Continue to advocate for and represent children and their families who are faced with a “new normal.”

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