Ellen Lawton, JD is a Lead Research Scientist at the George Washington University and leads the University's National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership in the Department of Health Policy. She is also the lead advisor for Walmart’s signature pro bono medical-legal partnership initiative.
An expert in poverty law generally, Ms. Lawton is a lead editor of the 2011 textbook, Poverty, Health & Law: Readings from Medical-Legal Partnership. Ms. Lawton is internationally recognized for her leadership in developing the medical-legal partnership model, and has published an array of articles describing this work in both clinical and legal journals.
Ms. Lawton received the 2011 Innovations in Legal Services Award from the National Legal Aid and Defender Association and is a member of the Blue Ribbon Commission for Public-Private Action. She is chair of the board of directors at Health Imperatives and a member of the board of directors of Community Resources for Justice. She also serves on the national advisory committee for the Primary Care Leadership Program. Ms. Lawton was a 2004 Harvard Law School Wasserstein Fellow. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband Jon and two sons, Louis and Charlie.
These [medical-legal partnerships] address the causes of health challenges like malnutrition, homelessness, life-threatening asthma, or the choice between paying for food or medicine. Medical-legal partnership programs help people navigate complex systems that alter the social determinants of health. They secure income supports, get rid of mold in the rental apartment, and involve health care providers in the policy process to tackle patterns that affect many individuals.
Martha Minow, Dean of the Faculty of Law at Harvard University and Legal Services Corporation Board Member