During the COVID-19 pandemic, Rita Gilles, an Equal Justice Works Fellow sponsored by Bloomberg and Proskauer, has observed firsthand the heroic dedication and sacrifice of frontline workers, especially the health care staff at Mount Sinai Health System who are now dealing with another challenging winter. For those in or
With the ongoing pandemic exacerbating pervading health disparity and economic inequality issues in the United States, we brought together three experts to discuss their work and the impact of COVID-19 on these important topics.
Our discussion was led by Emmy award-winning broadcast journalist and senior medical correspondent for WCBS-TV, Dr. Max Gomez. Our panelists included Rita Gilles, Dr. Kishor Malavade, and Otto Starzman. Rita Gilles is an Equal Justice Works Fellow, sponsored by Bloomberg and Proskauer at the Mount Sinai Medical Legal Partnership in collaboration with the LegalHealth division of New York Legal Assistance Group. She works to provide legal aid to low-income families of children and adolescent patients at Mount Sinai Hospital in East Harlem, addressing the social and legal determinants of poor health. Dr. Kishor Malavade is the Vice-Chair of Psychiatry and Deputy Medical Director of the Department of Population Health at Maimonides Medical Center. He leads efforts to increase access to healthcare and help individuals through community-based initiatives. Otto Starzman is the Chief Production Officer and Treasurer of the River Fund, the largest free food outlet in New York City. He works on the frontlines to serve our city’s most vulnerable populations in our poorest zip codes.
COVID-19 has been catastrophic for the wellbeing of low-income Americans, particularly in communities of color. The costs to health and human life have been devastating and the substantial collateral damage on the financial and social fabric of the country is expected to be felt into 2021 and beyond. One of this country’s leading hospitals, Mount Sinai, is addressing the legal needs of its patients through the Mount Sinai Medical Legal Partnership (MSMLP). Serving one of the most diverse populations of any hospital, MSMLP addresses critical and urgent legal needs that may be affecting a patient’s health such as income maintenance, housing, education and employment, legal status and personal and family stability. This vital work is needed now more than ever.
To this end, Bloomberg and Proskauer are sponsoring Equal Justice Works Fellow Rita Gilles who will work at MSMLP under the supervision of the LegalHealth division of New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG). Rita, a recent graduate of Yale Law School, will provide legal aid to low-income families of children and adolescent patients at Mount Sinai.