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Legal Education and Advocacy in Pediatrics (LEAP) Program

Legal Education and Advocacy in Pediatrics (LEAP) Program

The Legal Education and Advocacy in Pediatrics Program (LEAP) is a medical-legal partnership (MLP) formed between General Academic Pediatrics at the Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters (CHKD) and the Legal Aid Society of Eastern Virginia (LASEVA). LEAP addresses social determinants of health by equipping patients with legal resources and, through a multi-disciplinary approach involving medical and MPH students from EVMS, law students from William & Mary, nursing students from ODU, and social work students from NSU in the LEAP referral process, links patients with other valuable community resources. Further, LEAP is developing a cross-listed course that would function as part of each institution's curriculum to supplement the students' hands on involvement in the MLP. The goal of the project is to combine legal, social and medical resources to improve medical outcomes among low-income families of child patients and conduct research to provide a successful framework to establish similar MLPs elsewhere. The LEAP referral plan encompasses involvement from various LEAP partners to ensure eligible families receive the best possible resources. The referral process begins when a social worker at CHKD refers potential cases to LEAP. Next, an "on call" student from one of the involved educational institutions is paged to come and meet with the family and go over the program and affiliated research: families do not have to take part in the data collection portion of LEAP if they choose not to. Next, the case is sent to LASEVA to determine eligibility to the LEAP program. All non-eligible families are referred to community resources by their student case manager or LASEVA, whereas eligible families' cases are managed by LASEVA. Cases pertaining to guardianship or special education are sent to the William and Mary Legal Clinic for review and handling. All other civil legal cases are kept at LASEVA for review and possible representation. After the cases are complete, data from those cases where consent was obtained is used to measure outcomes and inform a best-practices model for such MLPs. The LEAP program is also attempting to be the first MLP to successfully incorporate nursing representatives into an MLP structure.


    • Administrative Location

    • Legal Aid Society of Eastern Virginia - 125 St. Paul Building, Suite 400
      125 St. Paul's Boulevard
      Norfolk, VA 23510
    • Project Location

    • Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters
      601 Children's LaneĀ 
      Norfolk, VA 23507
    • Project Partner(s)

    • Legal Aid Society of Eastern Virginia, William and Mary Law School, NSU School of Social Work, ODU Nursing Program
    • Grant(s)

    • American Academy of Pediatrics : CATCH Grant, EVMS/W&M
    • Participant Eligibility

    • Faculty, Residents, Physicians, M1, M2, M3, M4, MPH
    • Project Categories

    • Community Service, Research Scholarship
    • Project Scope

    • Local
    • EVMS Department(s)

    • Pediatrics
    • Points of Contact