Marina Pantchenko

  • Hosted by Bay Area Legal Aid
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP
  • Service location Oakland, California
  • Law school Golden Gate State University School of Law
  • Issue area Health Care
  • Fellowship class year 2013
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Marina is improving health care access for indigent newcomer refugees in Alameda County through community outreach and education, policy advocacy, litigation, and direct client representation.

The overwhelming majority of refugees resettling in Alameda County arrive from extremely unstable country conditions where they were subjected to displacement and extensive trauma. As a result, they are plagued with disproportionately high rates of chronic, but preventable, illnesses. Burmese and Bhutanese refugees in particular face poverty, staggering unemployment rates, and social and linguistic isolation upon arrival. Though initially all refugees receive eight months of medical assistance, virtually all single adults are disqualified thereafter. Under the terms of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), single adults are now eligible for health care coverage. Newcomer refugees, however, need help to navigate the hurdles to accessing public benefits and advocacy to ensure they remain eligible for assistance while beginning their new life is the U.S.

Fellowship Highlights

During their Fellowship, Marina has:

  • Successfully advocated for California to continue the Refugee Medical Assistance (RMA) program, which provides benefits for more than 5,000 refugees across the state
  • Collaborated on an alert to refugee resettlement agencies in California advising them to pre-enroll refugees in Medi-Cal under the ACA to avoid gaps in health care coverage
  • Launched thriving partnerships with community organizations and health care providers serving the refugee population in order to identify potential clients
  • Collaborated on legislative and policy advocacy at the state and local levels to safeguard and enhance health care resources for refugees
  • Trained pro bono attorneys from Hewlett-Packard and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius to participate in a clinic to help refugees transition from RMA to Medi-Cal

Meet Other Fellows Like Marina

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Host: Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia

Sponsor: Latham & Watkins LLP

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Sponsor: Biogen, Foley Hoag LLP

Natalia Botella

Host: Legal Services of Southern Piedmont

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

Hillary Schneller

Host: National Women's Law Center

Sponsor: Greenberg Traurig, LLP