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Megan Denk of Wolfson Children’s to be honored by Jacksonville Area Legal Aid

JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA, May 20, 2019 – Megan Denk, executive director of THE PLAYERS Center for Child Health at Wolfson Children’s Hospital, will be honored by Jacksonville Area Legal Aid (JALA) at its Bridges to Justice for Children’s Health event June 19 at 6 p.m. at the offices of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough in Jacksonville.

Created to help prevent unnecessary hospitalizations, THE PLAYERS Center for Child Health focuses on prevention, health and wellness, access and community education.

The center is one of the partners in the Northeast Florida Medical Legal Partnership, through which JALA provides legal help for children whose medical conditions are exacerbated by financial and legal challenges, from a lack of health insurance to substandard housing.

“Megan Denk’s leadership has been a vital part of this great partnership, through which JALA has been able to meet the legal needs of about 200 pediatric patients a year, including many referred by THE PLAYERS Center,” said JALA CEO Jim Kowalski. “We couldn’t make this work without forward-thinking people like Megan.”

Denk led the Community Asthma Partnership’s development of a high-risk care coordination model, reducing asthma related admissions at Wolfson Children’s Hospital by 30 percent in four years.

“At Wolfson Children’s we are always looking for ways to better serve our patients, and the Northeast Florida Medical Legal Partnership is a great example of that,” Denk said. “We know that the conditions in which people live, work and play have far greater impact on overall health than medical care. We are so thankful for the support to maintain this partnership which allows us to care for the whole child.”

To continue that support, JALA is seeking to raise $1 million, which Baptist Health will match with an additional $1.25 million to create a $2.25 million endowment, thereby ensuring the NFMLP will always be there.

Earnings from the endowment will support children’s legal services, including help accessing health insurance and other public benefits, family law advocacy, consumer protection, immigration assistance, and help ensuring safe and affordable housing.

The NFMLP also serves pediatric patients of Nemours Children’s Specialty Care – Jacksonville, UF Health Specialty Pediatric Clinics, and Community PedsCare®, a pediatric program of Community Hospice & Palliative Care. And it is using a new screening tool at Sulzbacher Village to identify legal needs among families who’ve experienced homelessness.

The Bridges to Justice event is generously hosted by Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, LLP.  JALA is also grateful to Platinum Sponsor CSX, as well as the law firm of Smith Hulsey & Busey and members of the Bridges to Justice committee: Dr. Bethany Atkins, Baptist Health; Daniel F. Blanks, Nelson Mullins; Katy DeBriere, Jacksonville Area Legal Aid; Meg R. Heiden, Smith, Hulsey & Busey; Jim Kowalski, Jacksonville Area Legal Aid; Dr. Mikah Owen, UF Health Jacksonville; Dr. Dorothy Russ, Family Medicine specialist in Jacksonville; Dr. Mark Toney, Nemours Children’s Specialty Care; and Donna J. Zebe, Wolfson Children’s Hospital.

To register for the event, simply make a donation of any amount at: https://www.jaxlegalaid.org/bridgestojustice/

For information about sponsorship opportunities, contact Dennis Harrison, JALA chief development officer, at dennis.harrison@jaxlegalaid.org or (904) 356-8371 ext. 296.