Virginia MLP Network

Virginia MLP Network

The Virginia MLP network was launched in September 2008 at a statewide meeting of over 25 medical and legal partners from throughout Virginia who came to Charlottesville interested in learning more about this model and how to develop an effective network in Virginia.

The network presently includes 6 partnerships in operation around the state and several more under development.

More information and resources are available from the National Center for Medical Legal Partnership.

3rd Annual VA MLP Network Statewide Meeting

May 7, 2010 . . . Lawyers and physicians from around the state came together once again for the VA MLP Network statewide meeting held in Richmond. Highlights from the meeting include:

  • Our network now includes medical-legal partnerships in Suffolk, Charlottesville, Richmond, Petersburg, Lynchburg, and Fairfax, with programs actively under development in Roanoke and Norfolk.
  • Our network is also growing into a regional network, as a program under development in West Virginia has asked to join forces with our network.
  • Statewide meetings are planned for three times a year and will bring physicians, law students, medical students, and attorneys together to brainstorm and plan for how to make this the most effective network possible.
  • We will begin work on a number of statewide initiatives in the next several months, including development of a statewide website and a library of shared program materials. Work has also begun on a project to support improved medical documentation for children's disability applications in order to facilitate eligibility determinations. Other initiatives include working to increase breastfeeding support (breast pumps) for low-income mothers and improving access to pediatric mental health services for low-income children.

Virginia MLP Champions Take National Stage at MLP Summit!

March 2010 . . . Virginia MLP network members were well-represented and In the News at the recent MLP Summit held in Washington D.C.  Read more »

2nd Annual VA MLP Network Statewide Meeting

The second annual statewide VA MLP meeting was held in Richmond on October 16, 2009. There, medical and legal partners from across the state came together to discuss the progress made in the VA MLP network to date and to plan for future development of the network.

Areas of particular focus included:

  1. Opportunities for research collaboration
    Pilot projects at Virginia Commonwealth University (family needs assessment)  the University of Virginia (social disadvantage screening) were successfully launched over the past year and may form the basis of future collaborations.

  2. Opportunities to become involved in systemic advocacy related to child health
    Jill Hankin, attorney with the Virginia Poverty Law Center, presented information on their newest initiative, a coalition called "Healthcare for all Virginians" which seeks to improve access to health care, especially for children and low income families.


Plans are underway to develop an evaluation plan for the network, to develop a collaborative assessment project, to participate in "Pediatric Day at the General Assembly," and to develop a map and guide sheet of the MLP sites currently operational in Virginia.  The network will also be actively involved in the National MLP Summit to be held in Washington, DC, March 24-26, 2010.

The network plans to meet three times a year to continue its work.

mlp1_lawton.jpg1st Annual VA MLP Network Statewide Meeting

Ellen Lawton, J.D., Executive Director from the National Center for Medical Legal Partnership in Boston, facilitated the meeting.  As the inaugural attorney for the first medical legal partnership at its inception at Boston Medical Center by Dr. Barry Zuckerman, Ms. Lawton is an expert on the model and its implementation in various settings.

Topics of discussion included:

  1. What a statewide network would look like
  2. How programs can support each other
  3. mlp1_group.jpgDeveloping legislative advocacy into the programs
  4. Developing a referral network
  5. Engaging medical staff to effectively utilize medical-legal partnership programs for their patients


At the conclusion of the meeting, plans were underway to pursue further discussion via two workgroups: a medical workgroup and a legal workgroup. Both groups had their first meeting in January 2009, and the network is now moving forward in its development.

VA MLP Network Sites

The medical-legal partnership model is spreading rapidly throughout Virginia and our network is beginning to work together to provide economically disadvantaged families across Virginia with access to legal services to address such issues as housing, benefits, and special education.

Member programs in our network:

The Betty Sams Christian Child Health Advocacy Program (CHAP) at the University of Virginia
Charlottesville, VA (2004)

Legal Aid Justice Center 
UVA Department of Pediatrics 
UVA School of Law

Short Slideshow about the program and its development as the first medical-legal partnership program in Virginia

VCU Child Health Advocacy Program (CHAP)
Richmond, VA (2006)

Legal Aid Justice Center 
VCU Children's Hospital 
CHIP of Greater Richmond 
University of Richmond School of Law

Health Education Advocacy Law (HEAL)
Suffolk and Lynchburg, VA (2007)

Western Tidewater Free Clinic 
Sentara Obici Hospital Social Work Department 
Main Street Physicians 
Virginia Legal Aid Society

INOVA Fairfax, Fairfax, VA  (2008)

Southwest Virginia Medical-Legal Partnership
Castlewood, Marion and Christiansburg
(under development)

Southwest Virginia Care Connection for Children
Southwest Virginia Legal Aid Society
Southwest Virginia Community Health Systems

CHKD Child Health Advocacy Program
Norfolk, VA
(under development)

Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters 
Legal Aid Society of Virginia 
Hampton Roads Care Connection for Children

Norfolk, VA (under development)

Petersburg, VA

Legal Aid Justice Center
Hopewell-Prince George Community Health Center