How it all began...
After months of planning and consulting with the National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership, the Medical-Legal Partnership for Children in Hawai‘i (MLPC) finally began to walk the walk—literally. On two days in July of 2008, three law students and a recent graduate of UH Law School accompanied two health outreach workers from Kokua Kalihi Valley community health center to conduct a door-to-door survey of public housing residents. In addition to learning about health needs in the Kalihi Valley community, we asked public housing residents two questions: “Have you ever used a lawyer or legal services to solve a problem?” and “If you had free access to a lawyer in Kalihi Valley, would you use one?” Not surprisingly, only 2 out of 26 respondents had ever talked to a lawyer before. And nearly all of them wanted access to free legal services in Kalihi Valley.
By April of 2009, MLPC began holding Legal Advocacy Clinics at the Kokua Kalihi Valley (“KKV”) health center located on North School Street, just up the road from Kuhio Park Terrace, Hawaii’s largest public housing sites. The Legal Advocacy Clinics coincide with the KKV Pediatrics Clinics every Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. This allows for seamless legal services for families, and it also provides practical training for law students to work alongside medical residents. In addition to individual family advocacy, the MLPC Hawai‘i team of doctors, health workers, lawyers and law students engage in systemic advocacy to address the social determinants of poor health in low-income and immigrant communities.
Clinical programs at the University of Hawai'i
One of the most important aspects of MLPC is that we provide year-round clinical opportunities for law students and other graduate students in public health, nursing, social work, education, and other disciplines. We know that students who train together across disciplines become professionals who work collaboratively and without silos.
Dina Shek, JD
Dina Shek is a licensed attorney in the state of Hawai‘i. She is a proud graduate of the William S. Richardson School of Law where she currently serves as a clinical instructor and the co-Director for Community Projects for the Health Law Policy Center. Prior to entering law school in 2003, she spent nearly ten years as a community organizer, educator and advocate for social and community justice. She also has extensive development and fundraising experience, all of it on behalf of the public sector. Dina holds a Master of Arts degree from San Francisco State University in Ethnic Studies (Asian American Studies). In 2012, Dina was named the Rhoda Lewis Award recipient presented by the Hawai‘i Women’s Legal Foundation, and she received the Distinguished Service Award from the Japanese American Citizens League (Honolulu Chapter) for her work with Micronesian communities in Hawai‘i. Hawai‘i Business Magazine recently featured Dina as one of their “20 for the Next 20: People to Watch in 2013.”
Alicia Turlington, MD
Alicia Turlington graduated from Providence College with a Bachelor of Science. She next attended the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California for her MD. She completed her pediatric residency training through the University of Hawai‘i at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children. During her residency, Alicia worked closely with the Medical-Legal Partnership for Children in Hawai‘i at Kokua Kalihi Valley alongside co-founder Dr. Chris Derauf. After serving as Chief Resident at the University of Hawai‘i, she began working full-time at Kokua Kalihi Valley and serving as the MLPC Medical Director. Alicia is also an Instructor in the Dept. of Pediatrics at the John A. Burns School of Medicine. Her interests lie in advocating for children in poverty and social justice aspects of medical care.
Randy Compton, JD
Law Fellow (Staff Attorney)
MLPC's Law Fellow Randy Compton is a graduate of the William S. Richardson School of Law who was recently admitted to the Hawai‘i State and Federal Bar. Randy was a member of UH Law School’s Ulu Lehua Scholars program, selected for his ties to underserved communities and his lifelong commitment to social justice. Throughout his law school career, Randy externed and volunteered with MLPC Hawai‘i, including receiving funding from the Advocates for Public Interest Law Summer Fellowship and the Samuel L. Cohen Foundation International Human Rights Fellowship. Randy brings a rare dedication to the work of MLPC, providing direct legal advocacy for MLPC families as well as engaging in systemic advocacy for COFA migrants and other underrepresented communities.
U'i Goods, JD
Law Fellow (Paralegal)
U'i Goods is a recent graduate of the William S. Richardson School of Law. As a law student and Ulu Lehua Scholar, she assisted in coordinating an empirical study of Hawaii's landlord and tenant court proceedings. After graduation U‘i joined the team at Medical Legal Partnership for Children of Hawaiʻi as a Summer Extern and now serves as a full-time Law Fellow. Prior to law school Uʻi served as an AmeriCorps Advocate with the Legal Aid Society of Maui. Uʻi considers the opportunity to provide legal counsel and advice through medical-legal partnerships to be one of the most effective ways to expand access to justice.