Mini Bioethics Academy | Healthcare Legal Partnerships: Advancing health equity by incorporating legal services in healthcare delivery

Healthcare Legal Partnerships (HLPs): Advancing health equity by incorporating legal services in healthcare delivery


We know that what impacts health lies largely outside of normal healthcare delivery. We call these the negative social determinants of health. One in six people with low incomes need legal help to overcome these determinants and improve their health. Restoring food stamps when wrongfully denied to a diabetic can eliminate the need for a kidney transplant. Demanding that a landlord remove mold from substandard housing can reduce the need for emergency asthma care. Such interventions can also reduce overall healthcare costs.

Healthcare Legal Partnerships exist to meet needs like these by adding lawyers to the healthcare team in various settings. The University of Minnesota helped pioneer this model of care in the 1990s. The HLP Collaborative in Minnesota was founded by nursing educator Dr. Eileen Weber, who is also an attorney, so HLPs in our region can share best practices and increase awareness, education and outreach of this effective interprofessional care model. Her presentation offered HLP strategies and resources to help those who work to advance health equity.

Upper Midwest Healthcare Legal Partnership Learning Collaborative Report


Eileen Weber, DNP, JD, BSN, PHN, RN, teaches ethics, leadership, and public policy in the context of a continuum of interprofessional healthcare. She founded the Healthcare Legal Partnership (HLP) Collaborative, a growing network of healthcare providers with embedded civil legal services to serve patients who need legal help in overcoming negative social determinants of health. Her mission is to advance innovations in HLPs to promote just, equitable, and fair healthcare through the integration of legal services and healthcare delivery.