Rita Gilles

  • Hosted by Mount Sinai Medical-Legal Partnerships
  • Sponsored by Bloomberg Philanthropies, Proskauer Rose LLP
  • Service location New York , New York
  • Law school Yale Law School
  • Issue area Medical-Legal Partnership
  • Fellowship class year 2020
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Rita provided legal aid to low-income families of children and adolescent patients at Mount Sinai Hospital Pediatric Associates in East Harlem to address social and legal determinants of poor health.

Rita’s project brought together NYLAG’s LegalHealth division and the Mount Sinai Medical-Legal Partnership (MSMLP) Pediatric Program to support low-income children by providing civil legal services embedded in the hospital. Medical-Legal Partnerships connect medical and legal services by screening for needs at medical appointments. Legal intervention on issues children face, such as uninhabitable housing, has the compounded effect of improving health as well as living conditions.

Rita has an unwavering interest in providing legal services in a medical setting. Prior to her Fellowship, Rita worked in a pediatric clinic in New Haven, Connecticut, developing experiences she could transfer to MSMLP.

Fellowship Highlights

During her two-year Fellowship, Rita:

  • Advised 120 clients on issues related to education, housing, immigration and benefits
  • Provided full representation with extensive service and advocacy to over 30 clients on issues including immigration, family law, public benefits, and education and early intervention cases
  • Trained hospital staff through formal trainings and informally through consults with social workers on complex cases
  • Collaborated with eight groups to expand the reach and impact of the project
  • Participated in Medical Legal Partnership meetings and conferences, including the 2021 Connecticut Medical Legal Partnership Convening and the Patients-to-Policy Learning Collaborative series hosted by the National Center for Medical Legal Partnership

Next Steps

Rita will join Paul Weiss as a corporate associate in the New York Office. NYLAG will continue to maintain legal clinics at Mount Sinai, and other NYLAG attorneys will be taking over referrals to the clinic, ensuring that patients continue to receive legal care.

Media

Spotlight on Equal Justice Works Fellow Rita Gilles

Addressing Disparities in Health and Health Care during the COVID-19 Pandemic

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