Medical Student’s Perspective on Medical-Legal Partnership Part V

My name is Amber Allred and I am a native of Atlanta! I will soon be graduating from Morehouse School of Medicine and will then continue my training in Anesthesiology. I have also completed a Master of Public Health degree in Health Policy and Management from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. I have a great interest in health policy and patient advocacy. Before starting medical school, I worked as a project coordinator in several quality of life studies and really learned the importance of an interdisciplinary team-based approach to patient care. Although I had not directly worked with lawyers, I knew they served an important role. This was the catalyst for me to take the Law and Medicine elective course, during which fourth-year medical students work with Georgia State University law students in the Health Law Partnership (HeLP) Legal Services Clinic.

I first learned of the HeLP Clinic during a formal session as a third-year medical student. We often had group sessions working with law students brainstorming on ideas of patient care and advocacy. I was intrigued by the possibility of helping further their cases by helping them to understand medical terminology and bring forth ideas from a medical perspective that could be of assistance to their cases.

During my time in the HeLP Clinic, I greatly enjoyed this interaction. I often felt like an invaluable member of the team. Many times what would take the law students hours to understand, I could help them digest in a matter of minutes. We had many complicated cases with diseases such as lupus, seizures, sickle cell, and Sjogren’s Syndrome. I also helped them to learn of other resources or online databases that could further support their cases. Additionally, I had the opportunity to attend the Health and Human Services Committee meetings at the Georgia State Capital. I saw many future laws related to physicians and patients being debated. This was very influential to me and reminded me of the need for physicians to be involved on the advocacy level. Many decisions are created that need the perspective of a physician. I hope in the future I can continue to contribute to this cause.