Miami's Medical-Legal Partnership: Preparing Lawyers and Physicians for Holistic Practice
Indiana Health Law Review, Forthcoming
12 Pages Posted: 4 Mar 2012 Last revised: 1 Jan 2013
Date Written: March 2, 2012
The University of Miami’s Law School and Miller School of Medicine have for much of the last decade explored innovative and collaborative ways to educate future professionals and to deliver quality care to underserved populations. In 2011 we experimented with a pilot course that brought faculty and clinical students from both disciplines together for a weekly hospital-based clinical practicum supplemented with interdisciplinary didactic sessions. The interdisciplinary clinic was designed to foster collaborative team-based interdisciplinary work to identify, assess and treat the medical and legal needs of patient-clients. The purpose of the didactic sessions was to provide clinical students from the law school and the medical residents cross-training in each others’ disciplines to the extent necessary to engage in the joint clinical practice.
The interdisciplinary collaboration between the schools has now grown into a joint clinic, and clinical rotation offering for medical students. Beyond the clinical offering, we now offer a four-year pathway of emphasis, or area of scholarly concentration, for medical students interested in health law. This essay will briefly describe our interdisciplinary Medical-Legal Clinic, and discuss some of the lessons we have learned from our collaborations. It will conclude with a discussion of the promise we believe academically-based medical-legal partnerships and especially clinics hold for the education of tomorrow’s lawyers and physicians.
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