Harvard Law School’s Health Law and Policy Clinic at the WilmerHale Legal Services Center has been awarded a two-year grant of $200,000 from the Ford Foundation to support the clinic’s leading-edge work in health care law and policy reform.

The grant will enable the clinic to expand the scope and reach of its work on healthcare law and access reform, with a particular focus on improving access to care and treatment for people living with HIV/AIDS.

“I am so proud of the efforts of our team in pursuing health care for vulnerable people, and this terrific support from the Ford Foundation enables us to deepen and extend this vital work,” said Dean Martha Minow.

Under the leadership of Robert Greenwald, founder and director of the Health Law and Policy Clinic, law students are involved in several national projects. In the Healthcare Reform Analysis Project, teams of students and staff are analyzing new proposals for healthcare legislation and providing immediate summaries and analysis for a coalition of 100 national and state-based organizations around the country involved in healthcare, focusing on whether the proposed reforms do or do not improve healthcare access for low-income people. The clinic is also involved in a project examining challenges to healthcare access for people living with HIV/AIDS, with a focus on Southern states, and in a project that helps state-based advocates preserve Medicaid in the face of state cutbacks.

“We are very pleased to receive support from the Ford Foundation to further the work of the HLS Health Law and Policy Clinic,’ said Greenwald. “In addition to direct client service work, the Clinic focuses broadly on initiatives that will increase access to quality, comprehensive health care for poor and low-income individuals and families—especially those living with chronic medical conditions. Students in the Clinic work to inform cutting-edge policy recommendations at the state and national levels in both the legislative and regulatory arenas.  The grant from the Ford Foundation will allow us to expand the scope of this important work.”

The Health Law and Policy Clinic was started by Greenwald in 1987 as the AIDS Law Clinic, the nation’s first law-school-based legal services clinic to serve low-income people living with HIV/AIDS. Since then, the Health Law and Policy Clinic staff and students have provided direct legal services to thousands of individuals living with chronic and terminal medical conditions, including HIV-positive clients, helping them to obtain public and private health insurance and disability benefits, to fight discrimination, to plan for the future care of their children, and to maximize control over decisions affecting their medical care and finances through estate planning.

The Health Law and Policy Clinic is one of more than 30 in-house legal clinics in Harvard Law School’s Clinical Education Program, the largest clinical legal program in the world. Nine of the clinics are based at the WilmerHale Legal Services Center, a community-based legal services center providing legal assistance to low- and moderate-income clients.

Greenwald, a Senior Clinical Instructor and Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School who also serves as Managing Attorney of the Legal Services Center, co-chairs the HIV Health Care Access Working Group, a national coalition of advocates working to improve access to quality healthcare for people living with HIV/AIDS.