Provide health care and legal aid to low-income families in Washington, D.C.
Research approaches to improve overall well-being of vulnerable populations
Demonstrate what a cross-campus collaboration can accomplish
Since its launch in 2016, the Georgetown University Health Justice Alliance has made leaps and bounds in improving the health and well-being of families in some of Washington, D.C.’s most underserved communities. As a cross-disciplinary program from the Medical and Law Centers, the alliance—which directly serves communities in Wards 7 and 8—provides free legal assistance and health care to homeless and low-income children and families.
“Georgetown has built this amazing access to health, which has brought a number of our patients to a new level of health that I did not think was possible just five years ago,” shares Eileen Moore, associate professor and founding medical director of the Georgetown University Health Justice Alliance. “Together, we are able to do so much more for our patients than we could do alone.”
Understanding the importance of providing core human needs of healthcare, education, and shelter to marginalized communities, the Decker family has contributed a gift to continue the alliance’s impactful work in the District.
“Patients living in poverty struggle with legal barriers to good health,” explains J. Elliot Decker, M.D. (MS’80, M’84). “The Health Justice Alliance is an exceptional cross-campus collaboration, and the model and concept of the alliance is one that addresses this significant problem that often slips under the radar.”
Operating from the D.C. General Family Shelter and the Anacostia Wellness Center in Anacostia High School, the alliance is able to reach residents who often face setbacks such as marginal housing conditions, food insecurity, and unemployment.
“My greatest take-away from this work is seeing the high needs of these families,” shares Vicki Girard, co-director of the Health Justice Alliance and professor of legal research and writing at Georgetown Law Center. “We’re really fortunate and happy about the Decker family and their willingness to support the general operating cost. They really value the pillars of our work.”
Students within the program gain multidisciplinary, on-the-ground experience as health and legal advocates for the greater community and embody Georgetown’s ethics-based values.
“It makes all the sense in the world for this work to take place here, and for our work to serve the very most vulnerable in our community,” says Moore.
Thanks to the Decker Family and other donors, the alliance can remain a mainstay resource for disenfranchised populations in D.C., fortifying the relationship between the university and communities within the District of Columbia.
“As a family, we feel that this gift achieves outsized impact through good strategy and dedicated foot soldiers,” adds Decker.