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Swain Appointed to Medical-Legal Advisory Council

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Melissa Swain, associate director for Miami Law's Health and Elder Law Clinic, has been appointed to the Medical-Legal Partnership Network Advisory Council.

Swain, who graduated from Miami Law in 2006, was chosen by a committee comprised of council members and staff members at the National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership. Appointments of council members are based on past accomplishments as well as on contributions to the Medical-Legal Partnership movement.

Swain is involved with the University of Miami's Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic, a joint venture between the Health and Elder Law Clinic, the Miller School of Medicine and the Miami VA Hospital.

Part of the Network Advisory Council's job is to support the National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership in planning the organization's 2012 summit and provide advice on technical assistance, membership requirements and formation of a permanent board of directors, among other matters.

Swain was a public-benefits staff attorney at the Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center before returning to Miami Law in 2007. She also worked as a community organizer with Americorps and as a paralegal with Greater Boston Legal Services.

"I am honored to work with the Medical-Legal Partnership on a national level," said Swain, adding that she intends to ensure that the legal community "continues to address social determinants of health to ultimately reduce our nation's health disparities."

The Medical-Legal Partnership Network describes itself as "dedicated to improving the health and well being of low-income, medically vulnerable patients." To achieve that goal, and to transform the delivery of health and legal services, all such partnerships engage in direct legal assistance with the aim of "changing health and legal institutions and practices," the network says.

Miami Law's partnership pairs law students with medical students and residents in an interdisciplinary venture to assess and meet the medical and legal needs of low income and health-impaired people in the community. A statement announcing Swain's appointment says the Miami Law partnership "is a unique professional training ground for lawyers and doctors of the future."