Kathryn Marie Smolinski

The Project

I will work with Wayne Law’s Disability Law Clinic to develop a medical-legal partnership with the Karmanos Cancer Center focused on the legal needs of low-income cancer patients such as health insurance, disability benefits and end-of-life decision-making. The partnership will provide training to prepare future lawyers, social workers and nurses by collaborating with several professional schools located at Wayne State such as the Schools of Social Work, Nursing and Medicine.

The Inspiration

The Project

I will advocate on behalf of children incarcerated in Illinois' youth prisons to improve their access to appropriate education and mental health services. Implementation of reforms will help incarcerated children escape the cycle of poverty and avoid further entanglement with the criminal justice system.

The Inspiration

The Project

Graham ensured that the homeless youth of Chicago receive reliable access to health care coverage during the health reform era through community education, direct representation, and policy advocacy.

Homeless youth die at a rate four times greater than housed youth. The expansion of Medicaid and the new, streamlined application process created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) helps prevent the illness, poverty, and homelessness that captured so many from previous generations of at-risk youth. Thousands of homeless youth in Chicago recently became eligible for health insurance under the ACA, yet many homeless youth and the organizations servicing them are not aware that they now qualify for health insurance or know how to obtain coverage. It is critical that there be adequate legal assistance for homeless youth attempting to navigate the complexities of obtaining proper health insurance during this unprecedented period of change.

Fellowship Highlights

During his Fellowship, Graham:

  • Expanded the scope of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless’ Youth Futures Legal Clinic to three new homeless youth drop-in centers as well as other school-based settings
  • Conceived of, authored, and passed HB4501, a piece of Illinois state legislation giving an estimated five to ten thousand unaccompanied minors over the age of 14 the right to consent to their own primary health care
  • Assisted hundreds of homeless youth obtain Medicaid, SNAP, and other public benefits
  • Trained over 100 caseworkers at every homeless youth serving agency in Chicago on best practices for assisting homeless youth overcome systemic barriers to obtaining public benefits and access to health care

What’s Next?

Now that the Fellowship is complete, Graham will continue his work advocating for the rights of homeless youth to receive quality health care in Chicago as a Youth Futures Attorney for Chicago Coalition for the Homeless.