When Jason Cade was offered the opportunity to start the Community Health Law Partnership (Community HeLP) Clinic at UGA in 2013, he jumped at the chance. The clinic, which seeks to address health-harming legal needs of low-income individuals, provides a much-needed service in the Athens area.
“The whole idea behind this clinic is that both short- and long-term health outcomes can be related to legal problems,” Cade said. “Our goal is to reduce chaos in a family’s life, to bring stability and to maximize their income potential or their support. These are things that can make a really big difference in a family’s health especially when you are talking about very low-income persons.”
Cade and the law students, who gain client and work experience through the Community HeLP Clinic, primarily work with professionals at Mercy Health Center, which provides medical care and other support for low-income and uninsured people in Athens and the surrounding areas.
As an illustration, Cade offered the situation where a person has access to asthma medication but lives in a house with severe mold issues, noting the medication will not alleviate the source of the asthma.
“There is often a social circumstance that is connected to a person’s health, and sometimes those social circumstances have a legal solution,” Cade said.”Those are the kinds of cases we work on.”