AmeriCorps has awarded Alaska Pacific University (APU) an additional $409,000 to coordinate AmeriCorps medical-legal partnership attorney and advocate placements at Tribal healthcare sites across the country. The grant funds a third year of the Partnering for Native Health (PNH) program, which is now actively recruiting AmeriCorps members.
PNH responds to the severe health and economic inequalities experienced by American Indians and Alaska Natives. The multi-state and inter-Tribal partnership aims to improve health outcomes by extending legal aid to rural Tribal communities and villages. AmeriCorps members who join PNH are placed at Tribal health clinics where they help the community navigate legal barriers to health and wellbeing, including insurance, housing, and public benefits.
“AmeriCorps members in our program are embedded in Tribal healthcare sites and communities,” said Izzy Willamson, PNH director since 2015. “Our AmeriCorps members provide legal advice and representation to low-income patients whose health is compromised by legal problems. We provide a vital service for Tribal communities. I’m very grateful we can continue our partnership with Alaska Pacific University.”
PNH accepted its first cohort in December 2016. APU has served as the program’s home since 2019. In its first five years, PNH placed AmeriCorps members at 18 Tribal health clinics in five states. The new $409,000 grant will fund the program’s most expansive cohort to date, placing up to 21 AmeriCorps members at 25 healthcare sites in Indian Country, including locations in Alaska, Arizona, Michigan, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Utah. 10 of the 21 new members will be placed in Alaska, serving communities from Ketchikan to Nome.
“Alaska Pacific University is honored to host the Partnering for Native Health program for another year,” said Dr. Hilton Hallock, interim president of APU. “As an Alaska Native-serving university, we are an excellent resource for AmeriCorps members who want to serve Indigenous communities. This AmeriCorps partnership provides us with an important opportunity for helping to address issues of equity in the health and legal systems.”
The PNH program is currently accepting applications for the cohort beginning in 2022. AmeriCorps members identify unmet civil legal needs, navigate complex legal systems, and ultimately improve health inequities. PNH members build a diverse portfolio of legal skills including direct client contact, strong research and writing skills, and courtroom and Tribal government experience, preparing them for careers in public service or the private sector. To learn more and apply, visit: https://www.alsc-law.org/medical-legal-partnership/