Educating and Advocating for Health Equity

The Health Justice Project is an interprofessional medical-legal clinic (sometimes known as a medical-legal partnership or MLP) housed within the Beazley Institute for Health Law and Policy at Loyola University Chicago School of Law. As part of the Health Justice Project, law, medical, and social work students collaborate with health care providers and lawyers to identify and resolve social and legal issues that negatively affect the health and well-being of vulnerable populations. 

The Health Justice Project established its first medical-legal clinic in 2010 in collaboration with Erie Family Health Centers, a large federally qualified health center system, and later with Legal Aid Chicago, to serve vulnerable Erie patients in Chicago. In 2021, the Health Justice Project extended its reach to western Cook County through a collaboration with Loyola Medicine and Loyola University’s Stritch School of Medicine. Primarily serving Maywood, Illinois (the location of Loyola University’s Health Sciences Campus), its surrounding communities, and western Chicago, the Maywood clinic collaborates with Loyola Medicine clinic providers and Loyola Stritch faculty to address the health-harming legal needs of patients struggling with access to health care and public benefits, access to healthy and stable housing, and accommodations and other disability and chronic illness related supports and benefits. The Health Justice Project also works upstream to advocate for systemic and structural changes to promote health and well-being and health equity.

Hands-on experience

Students enrolled in the Health Justice Project Clinic course may be involved in advocacy in a variety of ways including outreach and education for medical partners and community members, developing resources for patients and providers, policy advocacy, and direct legal services to patients. Practice areas vary each semester depending on the issues identified by our health partners through referrals but may include public benefits, access to health care, disability, housing, utilities, medical debt, family law, education, immigration, and other areas of law which impact the health and well-being of clients.  Law students enrolled in the clinic will be the lead counsel on their cases and work with social work and medical student partners to advocate for their clients social and legal needs.  Students will learn critical lawyering skills through a combination of a seminar class, intensive case supervision, collaboration with HJPs partner organizations, and engagement in the practice of law.  The HJP offers a part-time and full-time clinic opportunity for students in their 2L, 3L or 4L years.

Other Interprofessional and Experiential Learning Opportunities offered by the Health Justice Project

The Health Justice Project also offers several other courses providing students the opportunity to engage in interprofessional collaboration and learning and to gain exposure to health justice and equity issues. 

Access to HealthCare

This course explores the role of racism in the construction of the health care system and public health insurance systems in the United States. The course is intended to expose students to historical perspectives on the impact of racism on our health system, allow for an understanding of how health care and insurance systems work in present day and continue to result in health inequities, and to prepare students to advocate for systems change to create more equitable health care systems and address health inequities in our society.  A significant component of the course is participation in an immersive field study to Mississippi during spring break.  This course is a prospective elective offered to 1L, 2L, 3L, and 4L students.

Health Justice Lab: Race & Health Equity

This interprofessional and experiential course grapples with the relationship between racism, medicine, public health, and law in the United States. It examines how structural racism harms health and provides insight in the roles that medical, public health and law professionals can play in advocating for change. An interprofessional panel of faculty and guest speakers will lead students through discussions, case studies, community outreach, and advocacy to address health inequities. By the end of the course, you should be able to: 1) describe the historical and contemporary role of racism in medicine, public health, and law; 2) engage in current debates about the impact of racism in perpetuating health inequities; and 3) illustrate ways that one can advocate for social justice.  This course is a prospective elective offered to 1L, 2L, 3L, and 4L law students and to MPH students and is cotaught by law and public health faculty.

Health Justice Policy Practicum (Weekend Course)

The Health Justice Policy Practicum (“HJPP”) provides an immersive opportunity to learn the fundamentals of health justice policy, creative problem solving, poverty law, systemic advocacy, and professionalism. Seminars will begin with the foundations of health justice and policy advocacy, and then move into policy practice topics, legislative advocacy, rulemaking, administrative advocacy, and educating legislators and policymakers.  This course is offered as part of the part time weekend program and open to all 2L, 3L and 4L students.

Contact Us

Philip H. Corboy Law Center
25 E. Pearson St., Suite 714
Chicago, Illinois 60611
Phone: 312.915.6470
Toll-Free: 1.800.424.4839

Real-world experience

Real-world experience

Student clinician gains confidence, practical skills helping vulnerable populations

Read More

Loyola’s Health Justice Project tackles health inequities and COVID-19

Loyola’s Health Justice Project tackles health inequities and COVID-19

Interprofessional collaboration offers free testing and resources to support vulnerable populations

Read More