Sharing the good we do in the world

Stories of Success


At 19 years old, Tim was diagnosed with cancer and did not have insurance. After multiple hospital stays, outpatient treatments, and surgeries, he is now cancer free but faces medical debt well over $100,000.

Unable to pay his medical bills, creditors began to contact Tim by phone on a nearly daily basis and sending him debt collection letters weekly threatening to garnish his wages. After a while, Tim began avoiding their calls and stopped opening his mail. He developed anxiety from the debt collector harassment and his college grades began to suffer. He eventually became depressed and hopeless because he was unable to make payments and was afraid any earning
from a future career would be garnished, derailing his future plans.

After discussing these problems with a community health worker, Tim was told about the healthcare legal partnership at his clinic. Tim went to the HLP and discussed his situation. The HLP attorney knew that if Tim were on public assistance, the creditors would not be able to garnish his wages. Tim also learned that he has the right to contact the creditors in writing and demand they stop calling him. The attorney helped him receive Medical Assistance, and Tim did write the creditors.

Tim no longer receives harassing phone calls and has peace of mind knowing that his wages will not be garnished. As a result, he is feeling hopeful again and his grades are back on track.

Do you have a story to share? We welcome your submissions for inclusion on this page.  Each time we are able to successfully help someone use justice to improve health, we celebrate and draw inspiration to continue this important work.

Please use the contact page to let us know you have a story to share.  We will work with you to get it written - with all names and identifying details changed, of course - and determine how best to offer your testimonial.  Thank you!


Marcus came to the HLP because he was struggling with his six-year-old son’s sudden bed-wetting and accidents at school. The family’s long-time primary care physician could not find a medical cause for John’s incontinence.

Luckily, Marcus talks to the doctor about their family's environment. John’s mother was in alcohol treatment for the fourth time, after child protection determined she neglected and maltreated him and his adolescent sister. Marcus was never married to John’s mother and the adolescent girl is not his biological child, complicating the custody situation.

The clinic's HLP attorney filed for emergency custody of both children. Eventually, Marcus was granted custody of both children, ensuring stability of the family unit and relief from the mother’s substance abuse volatility, resulting in improvement in the John's enuresis.

Mary suffered her first stroke in 2005 and has had two more since then. Like so many who have lost some of their previous abilities, Mary developed depression. While seeking treatment for her depression, she disclosed to her provider that her neighbor had harassed her on several occasions and even began stalking her. Despite contacting the police, the unwanted behavior continued from the neighbor. This was causing Mary much distress and angst and was not helping her make progress in her treatment.

The provider referred Mary to the healthcare legal partnership. They reviewed the details of the case and determined that Mary had the right to file a restraining order. The HLP attorney assisted Mary in filing a harassment restraining order that prohibits the neighbor from contacting her in the future. Now, should the neighbor contact Mary, the police are able to arrest him. Because of this significant deterrent, the neighbor has stopped harassing Mary and she is now making progress in her treatment.


Tou, an immigrant from Southeast Asia and patient at CUHCC, became a client of the Deinard Legal Clinic when providers who diagnosed his severe depression thought it might be connected to problems he was having in his personal life. He needed assistance with negotiating a settlement with the county and his former wife over child support and a suspended driver's license. He was extremely depressed, unable to get out of bed and unable to express his thoughts or opinions in his native Hmong or in English.

The team that worked with Tou over a multiple-year road to health included his social worker case manager, his psychiatric nurse and therapist, and 11 Deinard Legal Clinic law staff from the law firm (four partner attorneys, five associate attorneys, and two paralegals). With this collaboration, Tou faithfully participated in therapy while his legal team managed to reinstate his driver's license,set up a child support payment plan, and assist with the citizenship process.

Being able to drive enabled him to participate in his therapy and look for work. He voluntarily began making back child support payments ahead of schedule. He became a U.S. citizen, fell in love, got engaged and began helping his fiancée raise two children.


Grace came to the United States as a refugee from Sudan after her husband was killed and she was injured from a gunshot during the civil war. Due to her injuries, it is difficult for her to walk and she needs help with day-to-day tasks. She also suffers from posttraumatic stress disorder and lives in constant fear for her daughter, who remains in Sudan and has lost her own husband and one child to violence.

Grace was referred by the nurse to the healthcare legal partnership for help. After reviewing her situation, the HLP determined they could help Grace by filing a relative alien petition so her daughter and two grandchildren can obtain a visa to enter the U.S. With Grace’s relatives in the U.S., they can assist her with her daily activities and relieve her anxiety that stemmed from fear for her family’s safety.


Our mission is to expand HLP impact
by analyzing the health consequences
of public and institutional policies,
reducing negative social determinants of health,
and serving as a resource of HLP expertise
for practitioners and students
of the professions
involved in these partnerships.