Photo of Majesta-Dore Legnini

Majesta-Doré Legnini

  • Hosted by Legal Aid Justice Center
  • Sponsored by Johnson & Johnson, Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP
  • Service location Richmond, Virginia
  • Law school William & Mary School of Law
  • Issue area Health Care, Medical-Legal Partnership
  • Fellowship class year 2022
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Majesta-Doré’s (she/her/hers) project will partner Legal Aid Justice Center with VCU Health System’s Emergency Department and nearby low-fee community clinics to combat health-harming legal needs that perpetuate health disparities in Richmond and Petersburg, Virginia.

Healthcare access is fraught for patients with low-income, non-citizen status, and other marginalized identities. Health Justice requires removing discriminatory barriers and providing broader access to legal tools before health-harming legal needs reach crisis level.

Despite VCU Health System consistently ranking in the top 100 medical centers in the country, Richmond and Petersburg County rank at the bottom in the 2021 health rankings. Social determinants of health, such as the high eviction rate, barriers in stable access to care, and access to lifeline benefits such as TANF and SNAP all contribute to these outcomes. Medical-legal partnerships improve patient outcomes, overall wellness, and reduce health disparities.

Majesta-Doré’s experience living with chronic illnesses and navigating the complicated U.S. healthcare system strengthens her resolve to combat barriers to stable access to care.

Fellowship Plans

During her Fellowship, Majesta-Doré will establish a medical-legal partnership with VCU Health System to provide wrap-around legal services to patients in the Emergency Department. In the MLP, Majesta-Doré will counsel patients on health insurance appeals, appeal improper denials of public benefits, and train medical providers to spot legal needs warranting referral. Majesta-Doré will also work with community partners to provide community education about access to care.

Social determinants of health can change the trajectory of someone’s entire life. No one should have to choose between two life essentials because they need healthcare.

Majesta-Doré Legnini /
2022 Equal Justice Works Fellow

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