Medical-Legal Partnership for Children in Hawaiʻi

The Medical-Legal Partnership for Children in Hawaiʻi (MLPC Hawaiʻi) seeks to improve the health and well-being of vulnerable children and families in Hawai‘i through a unique partnership between the Law School, pediatricians of the Community Pediatrics Division of the John A. Burns School of Medicine, and the Kokua Kalihi Valley Comprehensive Family Services, a federally qualified community health center.

MLPC Hawaiʻi provides direct access to legal services for children and families in a community health clinic setting in order to address the social/legal problems that negatively impact children’s health.

The purpose of MLPC Hawai‘i is threefold:

  1. to train pediatricians, health care providers and staff to identify legal needs of the low-and moderate-income children and families they serve;
  2. to provide direct legal services to health clinic clients through on-site legal clinics, direct referrals and, when necessary, providing full legal representation; and
  3. to work together as lawyers and doctors to identify areas in which legal advocacy can affect systemic changes that will improve the lives of vulnerable families in Hawai‘i.

MLPC Hawaiʻi is based on a model developed in 1993 by the Boston Medical Clinic when Dr. Barry Zuckerman hired an attorney to “address the social determinants that negatively impact the health of vulnerable populations.” Fifteen years later, there are over 70 medical-legal partnerships in 35 states. MLPC Hawai‘i has received technical assistance and materials from Boston’s National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership. In May, 2008, MLPC Hawaiʻi hosted Ellen Lawton, Esq. (Executive Director) and Dr. Megan Sandel (National Medical Director) of the National Center at a site visit to KKV with the MLPC Hawai‘i partners, formalizing our membership in the national Medical-Legal Partnership Network.

MLPC Hawaiʻi is supported by the Law, the Hawai‘i Justice Foundation, The Hart Foundation, and the American Academy of Pediatrics (Community Access To Child Health grant).



Dina Shek '06

Co-Director, Health Law Policy Center- Community Projects
(808) 688-3313