UNM Medical-Legal Alliance for Children Receives Award

J. Michael NorwoodThe University of New Mexico Medical-Legal Alliance for Children, a collaborative effort of the University of New Mexico schools of Law and Medicine, received the 2011 President's Award from the New Mexico Chapter of the Academy of Family Physicians. Through the alliance, clinical students from both schools address the non-biological health needs of children.

"I have really come to appreciate the program's genuine compassion, tireless efforts and dedication to excellence and innovation over the past year," said Dr. Sally Bachofer, president of the New Mexico chapter, in announcing the 2011 award. "It is an honor to be a part of this outstanding work."

UNM Law Professor Michael Norwood (`70) has been instrumental in establishing and managing the alliance, which applies legal tools to issues related to family stability, safe housing, adequate benefits for caretakers, disability services, access to health care, freedom from abuse and appropriate educational services.

Norwood and Dr. Andrew Hsi of the UNM Department of Pediatrics have long recognized that the health of a child goes beyond biological needs; a safe environment free of conflict, appropriate housing and nourishment are just as important. The alliance provides up to 16 students a semester in the Community Lawyering Clinic to work with patients and their families. "This is a great educational program for our students," said Norwood. "It's exciting for them to directly represent clients and provide a service to the state at the same time. And by working with medical residents and pediatricians, they will learn through the eyes of another discipline how they do what they do, and vice versa."

July 27, 2011