2013 Equal Justice Works Fellow, Carrie Graf

Carrie Graf

Name of Host Organization: Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid
City, State: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Issue area: Health Care/Medical-Legal Partnership
Sponsors: Family of Hyman Edelman; Leonard Street & Deinard Professional Association

The Project

Carrie established a medical-legal partnership at the Hennepin County Medical Center’s Whittier Clinic in a neighborhood where one-third of families with children under 18 years old live in poverty. She provided legal services to Whittier Clinic patients whose health problems are rooted in socio-economic disparities.

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project: 
A 2010 study by the Blue Cross/Blue Shield Foundation of Minnesota found that people living in the poorest neighborhoods of Minneapolis-St. Paul live up to 13 fewer years than people living in wealthy suburbs. To a large extent, the disparity is due to prevent¬able inequities, such as substandard living conditions and limited financial resources. For example, people become sick when land¬lords refuse to maintain residences to comply with building codes. Often, conditions contributing to poor health can be ameliorated with appropriate legal assistance.
Fellowship Highlights: 
During her Fellowship, Carrie has:
• Established a Medical-Legal Partnership through which over 500 patients have been referred
• Presented 12 trainings for the Whitter medical providers on legal issues affecting their patients, including: employment law, housing law, and immigration law
• Represented or referred to Legal Aid for representation cases that have resulted, among other things, in improved immigration status, access to health insurance, improved housing conditions, state-wide improvements to access to food benefits, and safer conditions for victims of domestic violence
• Started two ongoing bi-monthly pro bono workshops for clinic patients: a DACA renewal workshop and an eviction expungement workshop
Where are they now?: 
Now that the Fellowship is complete, Carrie will continue running the medical-legal partnership which has received a guarantee of at least two years further funding.

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