Dartmouth Health’s medical-legal partnership program secures funding for next two years

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Rather than fear of the legal system, patients receiving this service feel supported, listened to, and successful at navigating the next steps.

Holly A. Gaspar, medical-legal partnership program manager

Dartmouth Health’s medical-legal partnership program has been awarded another two years of funding. Following a successful first two years of the program, the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation and the Couch Family Foundation have committed again to joining with Dartmouth Health in financially sustaining this important program.

Launched in 2021, families eligible for this program must be pregnant or have at least one child under the age of five. A medical-legal partnership focuses on identifying health disparities in communities and addressing individuals’ unmet legal needs related to social conditions, the physical environment or inadequate knowledge of or access to available public benefits. This program help address complex health and social needs, like ensuring emergency access to insurance benefits, preventing employment and education discrimination, and securing housing and preventing unwarranted and illegal evictions. Many people cannot afford legal help to address these complex problems.

“Families are faced with many hardships, impacting their health,” said Holly A. Gaspar, manager of Dartmouth Health’s department of Population Health and medical-legal partnership program manager. “Being able to support one of those barriers, the need for legal intervention, can truly making a lasting impact on their health and the overall health of their family that would otherwise go unmet. Legal services can be expensive, therefore unattainable for many. Rather than fear of the legal system, patients receiving this service feel supported, listened to, and successful at navigating the next steps.”

This effort is a partnership between Dartmouth Health and New Hampshire Legal Assistance (NHLA), bringing collocated civil legal services to several locations.

“Medical-legal partnership is a win-win,” said Sarah Mattson Dustin, executive director of NHLA. “Our healthcare and community partners receive the benefit of dedicated, on-site legal services for the families they are serving, and the innovative model brings NHLA even closer to our clients and communities.”

For more information on the medical-legal partnership program, contact Gaspar at holly.a.gaspar@hitchcock.org.

About Dartmouth Health

Dartmouth Health, New Hampshire's only academic health system and the state's largest private employer, serves patients across northern New England. Dartmouth Health provides access to more than 2,000 providers in almost every area of medicine, delivering care at its flagship hospital, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) in Lebanon, NH, as well as across its wide network of hospitals, clinics and care facilities. DHMC is consistently named the #1 hospital in New Hampshire by U.S. News & World Report, and recognized for high performance in numerous clinical specialties and procedures. Dartmouth Health includes Dartmouth Cancer Center, one of only 56 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the nation, and the only such center in northern New England; Dartmouth Health Children’s, which includes Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, the state’s only children’s hospital, and multiple clinic locations around the region; member hospitals in Lebanon, Keene and New London, NH, and Bennington and Windsor, VT; Visiting Nurse and Hospice for Vermont and New Hampshire; and more than 24 clinics that provide ambulatory services across New Hampshire and Vermont. Through its historical partnership with Dartmouth and the Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth Health trains nearly 400 medical residents and fellows annually, and performs cutting-edge research and clinical trials recognized across the globe with Geisel and the White River Junction VA Medical Center in White River Junction, VT. Dartmouth Health and its more than 13,000 employees are deeply committed to serving the healthcare needs of everyone in our communities, and to providing each of our patients with exceptional, personal care.