Caley (M.B.A. ’86, J.D. ’89) Receives Patton Community Service and Social Justice Award
An advocate for children with health care needs in low-income families, Sylvia B. Caley (M.B.A ’86; J.D. ’89), associate clinical professor of law, has left an indelible mark on the community in her quest to eliminate health disparities and promote health equity.
She will be honored on April 25 for her dedication to and significant contributions in improving the lives of others with Georgia State University’s Carl V. Patton President’s Award for Community Service and Social Justice.
“As the co-director and one of the founders of Health Law Partnership (HeLP), Sylvia has transformed her civic commitment into positive social action for Georgia State Law students and the community partners with whom HeLP collaborates,” said Charity Scott, Catherine C. Henson Professor of Law.
Caley was one of the driving forces in making HeLP an interdisciplinary program that serves and collaborates with the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s pediatric hospitals, community clinics and other universities and organizations. HeLP’s primary premise is that attorneys can intervene to improve the physical, social, and economic environments in which many low-income children live, resulting in their improved health and quality of life. In 2015, HeLP handled more than 600 cases resulting in over $700,000 in benefits for those clients.
In addition to helping those in need, Caley mentors and teaches students in HeLP’s Legal Services Clinic and summer Externship Program as they learn collaborative, interdisciplinary problem solving and reflective practice while working on cases involving childhood disability, housing conditions, education, access to health care and drafting wills and advanced directives.
“Sylvia is a role model for many, and truly exemplifies Georgia State’s commitment to fostering civic and community engagement,” said Scott, who nominated Caley.
Caley’s commitment extends beyond the HeLP Clinic. She is active in numerous organizations that promote access to health care, community education and health improvement.
“She is the genuine embodiment of the Georgia State philosophy of promoting positive connections with our community through her ongoing and strong commitment to improving the health and well-being of some of our most vulnerable communities,” Scott said. “She has dedicated most of her professional life to these issues and has been actively and continuously engaged in addressing them for many years.”
Caley said she is honored to receive the award, and credited Georgia State with giving her the foundation upon which to build her work.
“Truly, it is a privilege to receive this recognition from the school that has given me so much — the education, training, and encouragement necessary to expand my horizons and the platform upon which to contribute to the betterment of our community,” she said. “Working to expand access to justice, reduce disparities, and achieve the goal of health equity is very rewarding work, and I am very grateful for the opportunity to serve.”