October 6, 2011
ATLANTA - The HeLP Legal Services Clinic continues to expand the interdisciplinary nature of the learning experience it provides to law and other professional students. The newest graduate student to join the Clinic is Britney Bennett, JD, who is pursuing a Master of Public Health at Georgia State University’s Institute of Public Health (IPH).
Bennett received a JD degree in 2011 from the University of Georgia, where she was the founder and president of the law school’s Health Law Society. She also graduated summa cum laude from UGA in 2008 with a BS in psychology and BA in journalism/ public relations. While studying law at UGA, Britney participated in a special education practicum, which illustrated the link between education and improved health and socioeconomic opportunities. "This experience definitely strengthened my desire to help close the gaps between socially disadvantaged populations and the majority population."
Bennett received a Graduate Research Fellowship from the Georgia State University Center of Excellence (CoEx): Syndemics of Disparity, which was established when the IPH received a $6.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to address health disparities among minority populations in metropolitan Atlanta. One of CoEx’s goals is to recruit and train graduate students to become researchers who can contribute to reducing health disparities.
According to Dr. Rodney Lyn, Deputy Director for CoEx and Assistant Professor in the IPH, "CoEx will use cross-cutting knowledge and interdisciplinary collaboration to address the environmental, psychological, and social determinants of health." Lyn explained that the overall purpose of CoEx "is to conduct research on the additive risk factors, or syndemics, that amplify adverse health in disease-burdened communities." CoEx is providing financial and educational support for Bennett’s work with the HeLP Clinic related to her fellowship and this interdisciplinary collaboration between the IPH and the law school.
Bennett will be working in the HeLP Clinic for two years and will be mentored by Associate Clinical Professors Lisa Bliss and Sylvia Caley as she develops her research in the area of health disparities. "Britney is determined to use her research and health law knowledge to help alleviate health disparities in the Atlanta community and beyond," said Caley. "Her work in the HeLP Clinic will help her achieve her goals while also serving HeLP’s clients."
"My most important goal is to become a voice for the voiceless," said Bennett. As a Fellow for two years, she will work 12 hours per week with the HeLP Clinic and the Health Legislation and Advocacy course, which is a year-long course taught by Caley. Bennett will also undertake other training, mentoring, and educational experiences related to public health research and health disparities.
Senior Administrative Coordinator, Center for Law, Health & Society