Hempstead, NY - The Gitenstein Institute for Health Law and Policy (Institute) will launch its own Veterans Law Clinic (VLC), an innovative program designed to assist local veterans in obtaining the disability (and thus health care) benefits to which they are entitled. The VLC, a novel addition to Hofstra Law School’s already thriving clinical program offerings, will give students the opportunity to partner with expert attorneys to complete critical intake forms, perform research required for appealing denied claims, and submit appeals to the Board of Veterans Appeals or before the US Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. In addition, students will participate in a pre-clinic “Boot Camp” designed to expose them to nuanced military culture and to dispel myths and misconceptions about veterans returning from active duty – all in an effort to help students form deeper bonds with their veteran clients. The VLC will be scheduling appointments starting in early January 2017.
“Last year, we experimented with a legal internship where a law student worked on a case of an awarded and wounded Marine who suffered both Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury, but was unjustly discharged from the Corps and denied medical benefits. We won a reversal of this unjust treatment and now this Marine will get the medical benefits which he deserves,” said Gary Port, U.S. Army veteran and supervising attorney for the clinic. “Going forward, this clinic, with eight law students, will be able to provide significantly greater legal services to our veterans.”
To assure veterans participating in the VLC receive ancillary services when and where they need them, the Institute will launch a series of strategic alliances with the University’s Program in Public Health, the Zarb School of Business, the Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine, and the Joan and Arnold Saltzman Community Services Center.
Beyond leveraging University resources to support clinic veterans in need, the Institute has been selected for participation in the Starbucks’ Military Mondays program. This partnership, the first of its kind in New York, provides the Institute with secure, client-confidential space in the Starbucks near Hofstra’s campus as well as resources each month for meetings between legal counsel, law students and veterans seeking military benefits.
“It is a great privilege for me to be part of this work which will provide legal services to men and women who have served our country in a manner that put their lives at risk,” said Janet Dolgin, Hofstra Law professor and director of the Institute.
The VLC represents a key component of the Institute’s broader “Mission Critical” veterans outreach and engagement campaign, developed to serve the local veteran community by delivering coordinated and accessible educational, clinical, legal and social resources in a centralized location right on the University campus.
About the Gitenstein Institute for Health Law and Policy
The Gitenstein Institute for Health Law and Policy unites students, faculty, attorneys, caregivers, clinicians, policymakers and community partners to transform the U.S. healthcare system. Through alliances with key community stakeholders, the Institute:
· Creates direct services, as well as focused policy, research and advocacy initiatives to address the needs of underserved members in our community;
· Adopts and expands partnerships that help to broaden the impact and scope of our model initiatives; and
· Develops and implements interdisciplinary methods to engage students in order to pave the way for positive change in the U.S. health care system