CWRU School of Law and University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital establish medical-legal partnership

Thursday, September 7, 2017  /  Rate this article:
Case Western Reserve University School of Law and University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital (UH Rainbow) have formed a Medical-Legal Partnership (MLP) to guide families and other caregivers of pediatric patients on non-medical legal issues affecting children’s health.

The MLP will provide education and training, advocacy and individual representation on issues that impact children’s health, but are beyond the scope of clinical care.

The MLP, recently featured in Crain’s Cleveland Business, is part of Case Western Reserve’s top-ranked Law-Medicine Center’s innovative experiential education curriculum. It is also one part of a visionary set of programs that are being piloted by UH in advance of the opening of the new UH Rainbow Center for Women and Children.

The MLP will start at the Rainbow Ambulatory Practice in its current location on the UH main campus, and will then serve families on-site when the new center opens. The MLP will initially focus on families in the Smooth Transitions into Adulthood with UH Rainbow (STAR) Clinic, a unique multidisciplinary clinic designed to support families of youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and transition into assisting patients with legal matters varying widely, from guardianship hearings to providing a child special-education services due to a disability.

University Hospitals (UH) is a national leader in population health, providing patient-centered care that acknowledges that patients may have non-medical challenges that directly impact their health, which the MLP is designed to facilitate.

This collaborative MLP is the latest effort by University Hospitals to address its patients’ needs that may be barriers to getting care or maintaining their health outside of the hospital. It also reflects a commitment of the Milton A. Kramer Law Clinic Center at Case Western Reserve’s law school to serve the community’s unmet legal needs.

Laura McNally-Levine
Laura McNally-Levine
Laura McNally-Levine, a law professor and director of the Kramer Law Clinic Center, and Marie Clark, MD, a developmental-behavioral pediatrician at UH Rainbow and the MLP medical director, co-developed the MLP with key stakeholders at both UH Rainbow and CWRU’s law and medical schools.

“With the MLP, we’re not making clients come to us, we’re going to them in the health-care setting,” McNally-Levine said.

The Kramer Clinic allows students to engage in experiential opportunities in various areas of law. Through its Health Law Clinic, third-year law students can represent children and adults in administrative and court proceedings under faculty supervision. McNally-Levine said 14 law students have enrolled to handle health-law matters in the fall semester and can participate in the law school’s first MLP.

“We are excited about the launch of this MLP, as it aligns with the law school’s commitment to develop a broad range of experiential education opportunities for our students,” said Jessica Berg, law school co-dean and professor of bioethics and public health. “The MLP will provide legal services to some of the most vulnerable members of the Cleveland community.”

According to The National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership, 294 health-care institutions in 41 states have developed MLPs to help people with health concerns who need legal advice.

Clark previously trained at Boston Medical Center, home of the nation’s first MLP and later worked to develop a MLP in a previous position in Pittsburgh. In addition to her current position at UH Rainbow, Clark is also an assistant professor of pediatrics at Case Western Reserve’s School of Medicine.

Clark’s mentor, Claudia Hoyen, MD, was instrumental as UH Rainbow’s director of pediatric innovation in helping to envision how the program could enhance efforts to address social determinants of health at UH Rainbow. Hoyen, an associate professor of pediatrics, held an Ohio MedTAPP grant through the Case Western Reserve School of Medicine that funded their work on the project.

Clark said she was excited about being able to support patients and families in ways not previously possible at UH Rainbow.

“We can treat only so much with the arsenal of medical tools available to us,” Clark said. “At some point, we need to address the underlying causes of patients’ disorders. When we screen for health-harming legal needs, like poor-quality housing and inadequate access to appropriate educational resources, we are now able to refer families to lawyers who are passionate about these issues.”

Clark and McNally-Levine will train caregivers at UH Rainbow to work with patients within the hospital, and law students in turn will work with the medical personnel. The law students will have an opportunity to learn more about how a children’s hospital serves patients.

“We are most excited to work with our colleagues at the law school to benefit our patients and families,” Hoyen said, “but we also want to foster the academic and research potential of our partnership. Creating multidisciplinary teams of learners—medical students, residents and fellows—along with law students presents a special opportunity.”

Due to the great success of other MLPs across the country and the clear evidence-based need for these services, Clark and McNally-Levine are already planning for program expansion by looking for additional funding and innovative community collaborators to help fulfill a vision and reach as many families as possible.

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Comments on article "Remembering Saif Alameri"

Saeed Al Ali

12/16/2016 4:53 PM

Saif studied law at United Arab Emirates University, the university that I and most UAE LLM and SJD students studied in. He is older than me and began studying in UAEU before me, I saw him there several times, but because the age and classes are different, I didn’t interact with him there in UAE.

On the first day in Cleveland, I saw him. I remember him saying his name, my name is Saif, S … A … I… F. He was funny, even in a very serious situation. Saif helped me many times and acted as brother to all of us, even though we didn’t know each other before July 11. Saif is very kind. He smiles, and says hello to everyone. I visited him in his apartment, and actually lived there for a couple of days before my apartment was ready. That was the first week of law school. He didn’t know me well but he refused to make me live in hotel and he said, "your brother is here." I noticed also that he has a good relationship with his neighbors. He knows all of them and always says hello to them and asks them if they need any help. He was a special person.

At the end, we lost one of our brothers. We know that we can’t return him back to life again, but we have hope and confidence that our embassy attorneys will make every possible effort to get his right to punish his killer. My last final exam is on Friday and my flight is on the same day. The first thing I will do after I arrive and see my family is to visit my brother's family.

Jihanne (Jane) Flegeau

12/17/2016 2:07 PM

Saif is the first person I met when I arrived at Case Law School. I had been dreaming of this day for the past few months, yet I was stressed and anxious. On my way to the first LLM meeting, I stumbled upon Saif. He was sitting on the bench, the one we all love. The perfect spot when it's sunny. We talked a little, he made me laugh, smile and realize that everything will be all right.

This is how I will remember him. As a bright and kind man.

Saif was about to have a glorious life, filled with joy, friends and love.

I still find it difficult to acknowledge that it really happened. I'm heartbroken and traumatized, as we all are. But I made myself the promise that I will never forget Saif, his kindness and this terrible and unfair end. I will carry him in my heart from now on. I will be thinking of him on our graduation day because he was going to be with us, celebrating our American degrees. I will take his memories with me when I will go back to France. I'll talk about him with my friends and family so no one will ever forget that nothing in life is granted.

All my thoughts are going to his family and close friends. I know how hard it is trying to find a sense to something that just doesn't make any sense...

Please be strong and take care.

Arsalan Alvi

12/19/2016 11:47 AM

I met Saif, along with many other friends from UAE and all over the world, during the orientation week when I was struggling to find an accommodation. Saif was one of those few friends who first reached out to me and tried to help me. Over time, our friendship grew in school and outside as we met everyday and shared many beautiful memorable laughters that I shall remember him by and cherish forever.

I remember the last time we met after a class. We were both on our way home and when he caught me worried about my exams (my natural reaction to exams), he said, "You will get honors, wait and see. You are smart."

Things will not be the same again without his shining smiles and valuable insights in our conversations, but I am certain that he will be looking down on us and smiling on graduation day when all his friends in LLM will make him proud.

Ali Alblooshi

12/20/2016 3:30 AM

I have had the privilege of knowing Saif since May 2015. We have a scholarship from ADNOC. We were supposed to join together in the national service and then work in the same company. But his death was closer than all of that.

I miss his humor, and the beautiful smile, which greeted us every morning and evening.

It's hard merely to think that we will not meet again with our friend, but Saif's memories will live on in our hearts, our prayers, our conversation and in every corner and place we met with him.

Saeed and I met with Saif's family yesterday, and we transfered these condolences to them. They thanked us for our feelings about Saif's death.

At the end, I can only mention as I believe: "We surely belong to Allah and to Him we shall return."

May Allah have mercy on him.

Hamad Aleissaee

12/20/2016 5:36 PM

Saif and I took most classes together in law school in the UAE, but I never had the chance to talk with him. Last year, we studied English in the same university in PA. We had been communicating a lot every day and hanging out because he was my roommate for one semester. Saif was very very kind and friendly to me and to anybody he met with. So, that is why Saif had a lot of friends in PA. Saif liked to help his friends any time they asked him for help. Saif and I and his friends had amazing moments together even when we moved to Cleveland. He had many friends as he had a wonderful personality.

Actually, sometimes I feel that I'm in a dream. I could not believe his death. It is hard to forget all the memories we had together. Saif will be in my mind as long as I study in Cleveland, especially at CWRU, as I really considered Saif one of my brothers.

May Allah (god) have mercy on him.

Ernesto Biternas

12/21/2016 1:50 AM

I can just say that I loved Saif, and that I hope he is in that better place that he believed to be real... Rest in peace my beloved left my heart in mourning.

Ernesto Biternas

12/21/2016 2:26 AM

I don't know if this was Saif's favorite song, but he sure listened to it a lot.

Elizabeth Hornberger

12/21/2016 11:51 PM

This past summer, I had the privilege of teaching a small group of incoming LLM students. I was lucky enough to have a great group of individuals (Group #1!), and lucky for all of us, Saif was a part of our group. Teaching over the summer was terrific. Every single one of my students brought a different background, perspective, personality, and understanding of American law, and each student was intelligent in his/her own way.

Saif always stuck out in my mind because of a particular class during the second week of the summer semester. Prior to class, I ran into him in the hallway. Due to our lucky encounter, I told on him that I was going to call on him first. He became flustered and explained that he was not wholly prepared and begged on me not to call on him.

When we started class that day we began covering one of our Property Law cases, Pierson v. Post. That case was between two parties-- one who began chasing a fox and one who saw the other chasing the fox and took the opportunity to kill and take away the fox before he did. The entire issue in the case was determining whether the fox was the property of the "chaser" or of the party that killed it.

I did not call on Saif for the beginning of the class as we went over the majority ("winning") opinion. But after reviewing why the majority ruled as it did, I asked the students who they would have decided for. The entire class agreed with the majority- Saif was particularly sold by the majority's reasoning. I remember him breaking down the analysis into "you capture it, you win."

With the lopsided vote in place, we then reviewed the dissenting ("losing") opinion and its reasons. I began trying to play devil's advocate, asking questions from the chaser's side (i.e. "But I put in all the work! Why does someone else get what I worked so hard for?!"). The students sat there quiet for about 30 seconds and I noticed that Saif sat in the back grasping his head while he thought. Then his eyes lit up and he immediately raised his hand. When I called on him, he said, "I agree with the dissent!" When I pushed him on why he changed his mind, he explained some great policy considerations to the class.

While that day does not seem like a great big deal or is not a particularly funny story, it stuck with me because Saif did not come prepared to class that day. Yet, he still caught on quickly and broke down the arguments into his own words. He was brilliant and always exhibited that brilliance with humility and charm.

I only taught the LLM students for four weeks, but my students continue to say "hello" and keep me updated about their lives and schooling. Saif was a particularly bright spot in the law school and my day because he was so personable and always made me laugh. The Arabic luncheon that he and other LLM students hosted a few weeks ago was one of the coolest moments during this past semester for me. The food was terrific, but the best part was how excited all of the hosting students were to show off their cultures and backgrounds. Saif had a huge smile on his face during the luncheon and it was so cool to see all of the LLM students enjoying themselves and teaching me things about their lives back home.

I am so thankful for the short time I had to get to know Saif. I continue to read and hear things about him that make me laugh and smile. All of the stories are so "Saif-like" because they are funny and bring a smile to my face.

I wish Saif's family and friends warm thoughts during this difficult time and want them to know that Saif was a meaningful member of the CWRU law community.

GuzeI Sаkаevа

1/4/2017 10:57 AM

There’s no word that can express how sorry we are to hear about the death of your friend Saif. We were very stunned to hear this news and still can’t believe that it really happened.

Saif was a person who was always ready to help.

I remember these moments when I am coming late, running into a classroom or trying to find a vacant seat. Saif always gave his place to me. When I forgot my books, he always lent me his books.

Last time I saw him studying in the Coffeehouse, he told me: "Good luck on your exams; enjoy this wonderful time!"

I will miss his warmth and humor. My thoughts and prayers are always with him.

Siyuan Yu

2/21/2017 9:26 AM

We are with you. We are here for you.

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