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KU Medical-Legal Partnership attorney named Sunflower Foundation Advocacy Fellow

Tue, 01/14/2014

LAWRENCE — Dana Pugh is the fifth KU Law affiliate in five years selected to represent the interests of low-income Kansans as a Sunflower Foundation Advocacy Fellow. The program trains nonprofit leaders to effect public policy changes that improve the health of Kansans.

Pugh is the postgraduate fellow and staff attorney for KU’s Medical-Legal Partnership Clinic, a joint initiative of the KU School of Law and the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Kansas Medical Center. The program connects low-income patients to law students who provide free legal services ranging from housing and utility assistance to education and employment advice. The program uses a preventative model that aims to address legal barriers to health before they escalate to medical emergencies.

“The Sunflower Advocacy Fellowship will allow me the opportunity to grow and strengthen my advocacy skills,” Pugh said. “While a large portion of our efforts are geared toward individual advocacy, to truly benefit all Kansans we have to mobilize on a larger front. This fellowship will give me a chance to hone these skills and use them to improve the lives of the patients we serve.”    

The MLP Clinic is grateful for the support the Sunflower Foundation has provided for its work over the years, said Director Katie Cronin. The partnership assists low-income community members by providing direct legal assistance, transforming health and legal institutions and changing public policy. 

“Most MLPs engage in the first two activities during early stages of implementation, but a fully functioning MLP will change policy by working with health care partners to identify and address broad-scale legal barriers to health,” Cronin said. “The Advocacy Fellowship will provide Dana with dedicated time and training to focus on policy changes the MLP Clinic can pursue to improve the lives of many low-income Kansans.” 

Pugh credits her time at KU Law with giving her a desire to serve her community and improve access to legal resources for all Kansans.

“While KU certainly gave me the education that I needed to practice law, it also fostered an awareness of our responsibility to strive for improvement of our legal system,” Pugh said. “We need to make our legal system accessible to all, regardless of income.” 

The nonprofit Sunflower Foundation is dedicated to improving the health of Kansans. Launched in 2008, the nonpartisan Advocacy Fellows program trains nonprofit leaders in effective strategies to better serve their organizations and communities. The 2014 Fellows class includes 14 leaders who will participate in six sessions over the course of the year, including a trip to Washington, D.C. The series will focus on collaborating with community members, political leaders and the media.

Previous KU Law alumni who served as Sunflower Fellows now work in government, health law and academia. Pugh plans to follow in their footsteps, pursuing a career of service and advocacy.

“In addition to developing my institutional and systemic advocacy skills, I will get the opportunity to network with some very impressive leaders from the health care field in Kansas,” Pugh said. “I look forward to building these relationships, and I have no doubt that they will open doors for future collaboration and advocacy opportunities.”



Matt Menzenski, a graduate student in Slavic languages & literatures, took this photo during President Obama’s speech at KU Thursday. Menzenski says he was struck by how relaxed the president was in his delivery. He missed a chance to hear former President Bill Clinton speak in his hometown in 2004, but finally got to see a sitting president this week at KU. “The opportunity to hear the president speak is just one of many great opportunities I've had at KU. So many interesting talks and events happen here all the time. I try to attend at least one a week-- it's never hard to find something interesting to go to.” Tags: University of Kansas College of Liberal Arts and Sciences KU School of Languages, Literatures & Cultures KU Dept of Slavic Languages - Friends & Alumni Barack Obama The White House #exploreKU #POTUSatKU

The Kansas Vaccine Institute is refining immunizations to combat killer pathogens. http://t.co/LRCcCQn9c8 #growKS http://t.co/oIgiLqO4bG
Explore KU: The Bells of Mount Oread KU’s Campanile, a 120-foot-tall timepiece that tolls automatically on the hour and quarter-hour, not only sounded in the 2015 New Year at midnight with 12 mighty gongs, but also regularly rings up memories for many Jayhawks – the 277 faculty and students who gave their lives during World War II, the graduates who walk through its doors at commencement, and aspiring students who have strolled through the Lawrence campus. (See http://bit.ly/1xjjwJj). For nearly 60 years, KU’s 53-bell carillon has been tolling the sounds of peace and serenity across Mount Oread since it was installed in June 1955 inside the landmark World War II Memorial Campanile, which was dedicated in 1951. (See http://bit.ly/1BoL9jv) The carillon is also a four-octave musical instrument, which is played with a giant keyboard and foot pedals. University Carillonneur Elizabeth Egber-Berghout (http://bit.ly/14fiBPl), associate professor of carillon and organ, climbs 77 steps up a spiral staircase in the bell tower to perform recitals several times a month.


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Nearly $290 million in financial aid annually
46 nationally ranked graduate programs.
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