A quiet revolution is taking place across Australia that is transforming the way some of the most vulnerable in our community access legal services. In a practitioner-led movement, community lawyers have been moving out of their offices and into the most unlikely of places – hospitals and community health settings – to collaborate with health services and their patients to address unmet, health-harming legal need. Known as health justice partnerships, these collaborations work by embedding legal help into healthcare services and teams. They have formed in response to a growing body of evidence that shows there are groups of people who are vulnerable to intersecting legal and health problems, but who are unlikely to turn to legal services for solutions.
Following the release of their foundational 2018 report, ‘Mapping a new path
(www.healthjustice.org.au/mapping-a-new-path), Health Justice Australia is now focussing its research agenda on understanding the opportunities, challenges, value and impact of integrating legal help into health care settings and teams. This includes the development of an outcomes framework to explore health justice partnerships as an evolving integrated practice in addressing complex need and affecting policy change around the social determinants of health. This seminar will provide a briefing on the work of health justice partnerships across Australia and on Health Justice Australia’s early scoping of an outcomes framework, before opening up for discussion with participants about the possibilities of learning from the integration of legal help in healthcare and its impact on improving health and wellbeing.
Dr Tessa Boyd-Caine GAICD, CEO, Health Justice Australia
Tessa is the founding CEO of Health Justice Australia, established in 2016 as the national centre for health justice partnerships. She has worked in health, criminal justice and human rights organisations in Australia and internationally. She was previously Deputy CEO of the Australian Council of Social Service. Her report of her Fulbright Professional Scholarship in Nonprofit Leadership was published as Lead or be left behind: Sustaining trust and confidence in Australia’s charities. Her PhD on the detention and release of mentally disordered offenders was published as a book, Protecting the Public? Detention and Release of Mentally Disordered Offenders by Routledge in 2010. She is on the Board of Gondwana Choirs, the leader in Australian choral performance; and plays ultimate Frisbee. Tessa’s TEDx on health justice partnerships explains why seeing a lawyer might be good for your health and her TEDx on philanthropy through partnership and against ‘bizsplaining’ builds on her work as the inaugural Fulbright Professional Scholar in Nonprofit Leadership.
Suzie Forell, Research Director, Health Justice Australia
Suzie Joined Health Justice Australia as Research Director in November 2017, having been a Principal Researcher at the Law and Justice Foundation of NSW. There Suzie was part of the research team that undertook the Legal Australia Wide Survey and accompanying studies, landmark research that identifies that legal need in Australia is widely experienced, but also disproportionately experienced by some people more than others. The research also indicated that people with legal issues are more likely to ask non-legal professionals, including health professionals, in settings they trust rather than seek help from a lawyer. Suzie’s understanding of the interplay between legal need and broader vulnerabilities, legal assistance strategies and evaluation expertise is well known across the community legal sector. Now Suzie is seeking to build collaboration across disciplines to examine the impact of embedding legal help in health care settings and teams on outcomes for people vulnerable to disadvantage. Suzie is an adjunct Senior Lecturer at UNSW Law, and was recently appointed as an Honorary Professor at University College London School of Laws. Suzie likes to start the day in the ocean.