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Background

What's happening at SALA:

Partnership with El Rio Santa Cruz Neighborhood Health Center, Inc.



SALA and El Rio Santa Cruz Neighborhood Health Center, Inc. have recently finalized a Memorandum of Understanding to form a medical legal partnership (MLP).  El Rio is one of the largest federally qualified health centers in the US.  El Rio serves primarily the urban population of Pima County. 

We know that poor people have limited access to civil legal services.  We also know that those needs create barriers to basic daily needs such as food security, stable housing, employment, and safety.  MLPs help address these social determinants of health.  SALA staff will be based at El Rio, working directly with their medical team to identify legal issues facing high need patients and provide direct legal assistance. We expect this to be the beginning of a long collaboration that will improve the health of our community.

The focus of our partnership is to provide legal services to El Rio patients who are ‘high utilizers’.  These are folks who have a history of multiple admissions to hospital.  Each patient in this category has a discharge meeting with their El Rio team providers and SALA will be added to that team to help screen for legal issues.  Medical providers will also be able to refer patients to the medical legal partnership.

Our selection of ‘high utilizers’ is based in part on the experiences of other medical legal partnerships and the impact that has been demonstrated.  We will be closely monitoring the program. El Rio has already begun collecting data on Social Determinants of Health, so that we have baseline data.

Our initial staffing will be a full time, embedded paralegal and a part time senior attorney.  The paralegal will be the primary contact for referrals from El Rio.  They will screen referrals and provide appropriate advice, staff cases with the senior attorney and forward cases to our main office for additional services when indicated.

The legal staff will also be available for brief consults to address possible legal issues with medical providers/El Rio staff.  Training of El Rio staff is an additional component of the partnership.


Attorney of the Month

  • Erwin Kratz - Attorney of the Month - January 2017

  • Shannon Giles - Attorney of the Month - November 2016

  • Jeff Wohlford - Attorney of the Month - October 2016

  • Tom Niemeir - Attorney of the Month - September 2016

  • Melvin Cohen - Attorney of the Month - August 2016

  • Gary Kraft - Attorney of the Month - June 2016

  • Anna Ceder - Attorney of the Month - May 2016

  • John Richardson - Attorney of the Month - April 2016

  • Rob Charles - Attorney of the Month - March 2016

  • Peter Akmajian - Attorney of the Month - February 2016

  • Randi Burnett - Attorney of the Month - January 2016

Student of the Month

  • Armend Hetemi - Student of the Month - July 2016

  • Mia Hammersley - Student of the Month - June 2016

  • Javier Gherna - Student of the Month - May 2016

  • Russ Johnson - Student of the Month - April 2016

  • Matt Mittlestadt - Student of the Month - March 2016

  • Per Leroy - Student of the Month - February 2016

  • Glaucia Brannock - Student of the Month - January 2016

Student Luncheon

  • 2015 Student Luncheon

  • 2014 Student Luncheon

  • 2013 Spring Student Luncheon

  • 2012 Spring Student Luncheon