Carly Loughran

The Project

Carly (she/her/hers) will provide emergency legal care by addressing the unmet civil legal needs of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) survivors of intentional violence on Chicago’s South Side.

Chicago has seen a 139% increase in monthly homicides in the last two years. Chicago recorded more than 1,000 homicides in 2021, and 90% of those impacted by gun violence were BIPOC. Nationwide, Black men are fourteen times more likely than White men to be shot to death. BIPOC men are nationally underserved by legal service providers who could supply a path from justice involvement to economic stability. Individuals in Chicago who received emergency financial assistance were 51% less likely to be arrested for a violent crime. This decline in crime is causally connected to greater housing and economic stability.

Fellowship Plans

During her fellowship, Carly will establish a new point of access for civil legal services in Chicago through one of the country’s first medical-legal partnerships with a hospital-based violence intervention program (HVIP). Carly will provide trauma-informed legal advocacy in the emergency department alongside the credible messengers and community leaders at UChicago Medicine’s HVIP. Services will primarily focus on public benefits and will include wraparound civil legal support. Carly will also train medical staff on how to screen for civil legal needs to demystify the legal process for both providers and patients.

Working as an Emergency Medical Technician, I have seen firsthand the need for legal care in the emergency department.

Carly Loughran /
2022 Equal Justice Works Fellow

The Project

Through the Georgetown University Health Justice Alliance, Abby (she/her/hers) will increase vulnerable cancer patients’ access to free healthcare and estate planning documents by providing low-barrier direct services and integrating pro-bono and student volunteers into the Cancer LAW Project.

Cancer diagnoses generally highlight the importance of planning for life’s inevitable heartaches—of having answers to the questions confronting individuals facing debilitating medical treatments or approaching the end of their lives. In Washington, D.C., not all patients have a chance to make these plans with dignity.

Abby’s project seeks to address the racial health injustice in Washington, D.C. that manifests not only as disparities in disease incidence and outcomes, but also in advance planning. Black patients are less likely to have healthcare planning documents providing end-of-life quality indicators, which results in patients not having end of life wishes followed. Additionally, white families are 5x more likely to inherit than are Black families, reflecting the cumulative effects of living within systems of pervasive racial inequality. Healthcare providers know that future planning legal services can protect the health and well-being of patients and their families, meaning more equitable health outcomes. Up until now, providers could not write a “legal prescription” for patients’ future planning needs. Abby will fill a void in the healthcare system while also creating a robust referral network of pro bono attorneys and student volunteers to scale the project to meet needs. 

Fellowship Plans

Abby’s project will advance racial health equity in Washington, D.C. by increasing healthcare and estate planning legal services for cancer patients at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. She will meet patients where they are and will collaborate with the medical team to tailor legal documents. Abby will establish a pro bono program and referral network that includes recruiting, training, and case placement. Abby will also integrate volunteers into the MLP to address patients’ non-legal needs.

Even with a terminal cancer diagnosis, my Nana dedicated her final months to helping me as a first-year teacher, volunteering in my classroom and later grading student worksheets when she became too sick. Nana’s choice to live her life as she wanted—in solidarity with her granddaughter—should not be a privilege afforded only to some.

Abigail Sweeney /
2021 Equal Justice Works Fellow

The Project

Jenny coordinates a medical-legal partnership to improve health and legal outcomes for medically vulnerable women and gender minorities in immigration detention in Aurora, Colorado.

While the conditions at immigration detention facilities are difficult for everyone, they can be particularly devastating for gender minorities and women: domestic and sexual violence survivors face the physical and mental effects of their trauma with limited support, transgender people contend with extended periods of damaging solitary confinement, and pregnant individuals struggle to access adequate prenatal care. Not only do detention conditions affect health, but health concerns aggravated by incarceration prevent women and gender minorities from successfully advocating for themselves in their immigration cases.

Jenny coordinates a medical-legal partnership to improve health and legal outcomes for medically vulnerable women and gender minorities in immigration detention in Aurora, Colorado.

Fellowship Highlights to Date

In the first year of the Fellowship, Jenny has:

  • Provided robust direct representation for medically vulnerable individuals in detention, including six medical advocacy cases, nine cases seeking release from detention, and six removal defense cases
  • Won release from detention for three medically vulnerable individuals with the support of declarations from volunteer medical professionals
  • Advocated to end detention for trans and HIV+ individuals in coalition with other organizations serving vulnerable individuals in immigration detention

Next Steps

In the next year, Jenny plans to:

  • Continue representing medically vulnerable individuals in their removal defense, medical advocacy, and release cases
  • Create and conduct additional trainings for medical professionals, RMIAN staff, and pro bono attorneys, and create additional materials for attorneys and pro se individuals
  • Continue supporting advocacy efforts aimed at improving medical care in the short term and ending immigration detention in the long term

Media

 

A deep look inside Aurora’s ICE Detention Center

The Bridge Between Medical and Legal Immigrant Assistance

Access to health and legal professionals can make all the difference in a person’s life. Access can mean better health care, reunification with family and friends, and a new life in the United States free from persecution.

Jenny Regier /
2020 Equal Justice Works Fellow

The Project

Gabriela will implement the DREAM Partnership. The DREAM (Disability Representation Education Advocacy Medical-Legal) Partnership will establish a medical-legal partnership between Homeless Persons Representation Project and Health Care for the Homeless to promote economic stability and help end homelessness in Baltimore.

There are about 2,669 people experiencing homelessness in Baltimore and almost one third of them reported having a serious mental illness. Nationally, only 28% of individuals who apply for Supplemental Security Insurance and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSI/SSDI) are approved on initial application. For people who are homeless and have no one to assist them, that percentage reduces by more than half. The DREAM Partnership will aim to provide free legal representation in SSDI or other public benefits programs to people experiencing homelessness in Baltimore to promote economic stability and help end homelessness.

Gabriela was inspired to serve people experiencing homeless because of her and her family’s own struggle with housing insecurity. She grew up depending on public benefits programs like SSI as her family’s main source of income and knows first-hand how life changing it will be to secure these benefits for her clients.

Fellowship Plans

Gabriela will eliminate barriers for people experiencing homelessness who may also have a physical or mental disability obtaining legal aid with applying to public benefits programs. Gabriela will provide direct representation to clients in Social Security and Disability (SSI/SSDI) hearings and appeals of public benefits. She will also advocate and educate the community on these issues.

Media

Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Legacy of Service

‘We’re human beings!’ the homeless woman yelled. ‘Acknowledge us!’ Then people did — in a way she didn’t expect.

Legal intern raises over $41K to help homeless couple who are 'no longer invisible'

GoFundMe Campaign Raises $40,000 For Couple Living In A Tent Near Union Station

I am passionate about this issue because I know what it is like to not have a place to call home, and I see myself when I serve my clients.

Gabriela Sevilla /
Equal Justice Works Fellow

The Project

Maureen proposed a partnership between Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service, a non-profit legal aid organization, and the Kennedy Krieger Institute at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. The partnership linked attorneys with health care professionals and teachers to allow them to band together to advocate for their patients who needed services and to provide educational materials and training for the families of children who have disabilities.

What’s Next

Maureen van Stone currently serves as the director of the Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities (MCDD) at Kennedy Krieger Institute and the director of Project HEAL (Health, Education, Advocacy, and Law), a MCDD community-based program.

Media

Kennedy Krieger Institute Appoints Maureen van Stone as Director of the Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities

Project HEAL helps families navigate the disabilities maze

Changing Lives Through Medical-Legal Partnerships

The Project

I will be the first full-time legal advocate for domestic violence victims at the Boston Medical Center, the greater Boston area’s safety net hospital. I will also be contributing to Boston Medical Center's new efforts to update and improve the hospital’s response to domestic violence among its patients and their families.

The Project

Struggling new mothers may face challenges with housing, domestic violence, disability, immigration status, education and access to government benefits, which affect health and well-being and place harmful stress on fragile families. The project will provide comprehensive legal advocacy for low-income pregnant women and new mothers in collaboration with medical and community providers throughout the city. It will continue to expand on Legal Health’s work providing high-quality legal services to vulnerable patients in a medical or health care setting.

The Project

A common problem in Chicago is that tenants are evicted from their housing for reasons that stem from a disability. Instead of facing eviction, people with disabilities can request a reasonable accommodation, but those requests often require medical documentation that doctors can be hesitant to provide. I will work directly with medical and mental health providers in Chicago to address the issues that our clients face as they enforce their legal right to remain independent.

The Inspiration

The Project

Anna addressed the ongoing issue of exploitation in the workforce of Vietnamese immigrants in the Greater Boston area. These immigrants lack significant formal education, job skills and proficiency in English and they compete for a limited number of low-skilled jobs. In collaboration with Greater Boston Legal Services and Vietnamese organizations, Anna connected with community leaders to provide worker workshops and representation where necessary, and also with the Attorney General and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The Project

Michelle provided holistic civil representation to people with psychiatric disabilities who have been affected by the criminal justice system. As a result of incarceration, individuals with mental illnesses often find themselves without a place to live, with their public benefits terminated, and with no way to access appropriate treatment. The goal of Michelle’s work was to further the work of The Bronx Defenders to stop the revolving door of the criminal justice system by addressing the civil legal needs of this vulnerable population.