2013 Equal Justice Works Fellow, Corey Prachniak

Corey Prachniak

City, State: Washington, District of Columbia
Issue area: Gay/Lesbian Rights
Sponsors: Steptoe & Johnson LLP

The Project

Corey fought discrimination against aging, low-income people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) or living with HIV/AIDS by overcoming unjust barriers and gaps in health care and empowering those individuals to age safely with dignity and equality.

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project: 
Aging always brings medical and legal challenges, but those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT), and those who are living with HIV/AIDS, have needs that are greatly compounded. The stereotype that LGBT people are universally affluent is a myth. LGBT people and people living with HIV/AIDS are much more likely than their heterosexual or HIV-negative peers to be poor, childless, and estranged from their families, thus lacking traditional caregivers and advocates. Many must hide who they are to avoid discrimination or abuse. Some lose everything they own due to inequitable treatment under the law. Others are separated from their partners, forced into facilities against their will, and left to die alone. Systemic discrimination has created another challenge to age with dignity and safety for LGBT elders and elders living with HIV/AIDS. The Affordable Care Act's anti-discrimination provision and a new sensitivity in federal agencies to LGBT and HIV discrimination create an opportunity to transform the aging experience for LGBT elders and elders living with HIV/AIDS.
Fellowship Highlights: 
During his Fellowship, Corey has:
• Provided full representation to nearly 200 clients on a variety of matters, including healthcare and end-of-life planning and accessing aging-related benefits and services
• Launched a Healthcare Planning Clinic to assist clients, particularly those who are LGBT, in completing essential healthcare documents and preparing for future care
• Worked with the DC government to include LGBT priorities in its plan to make the city better for older adults
• Participated in a White House summit on LGBT senior housing and submitted briefs to federal agencies urging the inclusion of LGBT older adults in nondiscrimination laws
• Led or participated in nearly 50 presentations to both LGBT individuals and to advocates working on LGBT or aging issues to advance the rights of LGBT older adults
Where are they now?: 
Now that the Fellowship is complete, Corey will begin a Zuckerman Fellowship in public interest leadership at Harvard University where he will study health policy issues related to healthcare decision-making and patient autonomy.

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