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 provides 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 brings 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. MLPs 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. She previously worked in a pediatric clinic in New Haven, Connecticut, developing experiences she can transfer to MSMLP.

Fellowship Highlights to Date

In the past year, Rita has:

  • Provided legal services to 56 clients on issues related to education, housing, immigration, and benefits
  • Assisted client in obtaining Early Intervention feeding therapy services for her two-year-old child
  • Assisted client in re-entering and asserting remaining family member grievance to live in her apartment
  • Provided two trainings to pro bono attorneys at Bloomberg and Proskauer and spoke on a panel about health disparities and medical-legal partnerships for Bloomberg and Proskauer
  • Met with 8 organizations, including the Planning and Estates Law Project, Adolescent Health Center, East Harlem Health Outreach Project, Yale New Haven Hospital Pediatric Medical-Legal Partnership, and the Yale Law School Medical-Legal Partnership
  • Created a slide deck on pro bono referral process for SSI/SSD training and updating an existing LegalHealth training on environmental and housing conditions that affect health

Next Steps

In the next six months, Rita plans to:

  • Hold clinics and conduct weekly client intakes
  • Further develop pro bono project with Bloomberg and Proskauer
  • Develop further experience in immigration cases
  • Develop training resources for medical professionals to refer patients to pediatric programs


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