Medical Student Joins HeLP Clinic
ATLANTA – During the final weeks of her fourth year at Morehouse School of Medicine, Charisma Manley opted to participate in a four week elective rotation with the HeLP Legal Services Clinic at the College of Law. Manley began her undergraduate career intending to pursue careers in both law and medicine. Although she applied to several medical schools that offered dual M.D./J.D. programs, Manley fell in love with Morehouse the minute she set foot on campus.
Manley experienced the same feeling walking into the HeLP clinic. “The fields of law and medicine may be different, but the mission of the clinic and my home institution were quite the same,” said Manley. “At the HeLP clinic, I realized I would be able to advance the Morehouse mission of addressing the health care needs of the underserved populations of Georgia, now through legal services.”
Manley discovered similarities in the practice of law and medicine. “The way the law students interview their clients –soliciting a thorough history, taking good notes, and asking openended questions – was akin to the conversations I have with my patients,” Manley observed.
Manley described her work at the clinic as gratifying. “I never foresaw having the opportunity to achieve good health outcomes for youth in a role other than as a health care provider,” she said. “As a part of the legal team, I was able to advocate beyond the confines of the doctor’s office and achieve health care victories beyond anything I could accomplish in a doctor’s visit.”
“Having medical students enroll in the clinic helps law students understand how interprofessional collaboration can work in addressing problems for real clients,” said associate clinical professor Lisa Bliss. “Both law and medical students see how clients can benefit from this holistic approach.”
In addition to participating in the HeLP clinic, Charisma attended Interviewing and Counseling and Health Legislation and Advocacy classes. “Charisma’s keen interest in the intersection of law and medicine brought a unique perspective to classroom discussions in the clinic as well as other classes,” added Bliss.
Manley intends to continue to participate as a consultant with the HeLP clinic. “Who knows? If I am fortunate enough, I may even return in a few years as a Georgia State University College of Law student. We’ll see!” she said.
Stacie Kershner (J.D. ’08)
Center for Law, Health & Society