Southeastern Ohio Legal Services (SEOLS) has applied for funding from the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation of Nelsonville for a pilot project in Meigs, Vinton, and Jackson counties. If funded, SEOLS will form a medical/legal partnership with the Pathways Program that will address the needs and help improve the health status of low-income, at risk pregnant women by using legal means to resolve socioeconomic and environmental issues- family violence, inappropriately denied public services, inadequate living facilities, discrimination in housing and access to substance abuse treatment- that negatively impact the health of the women in the coordinated care program and their infants.
This pilot project is part of a larger effort to address physical, social and environmental risk factors that negatively impact the health of infants. SEOLS will collaborate with Pathways Care Coordinators of IPAC affiliate agencies to develop and implement a screening tool or checklist to identify unmet legal needs of the populations being served. Additionally, training will be provided to Care Coordinators and supervisors to enhance capacities to screen and refer clients and their families. Once linked to identified clients in need, SEOLS staff can provide legal representation and advocacy needed to resolve identified social and environmental health determinants of health that are negatively impacting the health of the women in the target group.
A funding decision is expected in July, 2014.