By Karly Satkowiak
Tracy Goodman, Director of Children’s Law Center’s Healthy Together program, has pioneered the medical-legal partnership movement. She unites experts in law, health, and government to identify the key factors determining children’s health and well-being, and then structures legal services to address those needs and change children’s lives. Colleagues call her passionate, fiery, and dogged about improving long-term health outcomes for children and their families and in marshaling community resources to enact large-scale, systemic change. Tracy is a talented and creative lawyer and leader, and the winner of our 2017 Legal Services Award.
Tracy joined Children’s Law Center in 2002 as its first staff attorney in the medical-legal partnership. Since then, she has expanded Healthy Together into a nationally recognized program with fifteen lawyers and investigators at clinics across the District. She and her staff, in turn, partner with doctors, nurses, psychologists, social workers, and other healthcare professionals to find and fix the root cause of children’s health problem, so that children have the good health and quality education that they need to thrive. Healthy Together now helps more than 2,000 children and families every year.
In the process, Tracy identifies problems and fixes them. She has assessed, tweaked, and improved Healthy Together’s interdisciplinary advocacy model, insisting that data drive the program and that outcomes can be readily assessed—so that the program’s legal services lead to both short-term and long-term improvements in their clients’ lives. For example, Tracy negotiated complex formal agreements with Children’s National Health System, Unity Health Care, and two managed-care organizations that allow Children’s Law Center to share client and patient data to track the impact of its legal services on patient health. She also developed a Legal Needs Screening Tool, which helps medical staff identify patients facing legal challenges and refer them to an on-site lawyer.
On top of all that, Tracy gives back to the legal community. She developed a signature special-education representation project with McDermott Will & Emery for children with learning and emotional disabilities. She helped Healthy Together develop an award-winning pro bono relationship with Skadden. She mentors young lawyers and helped launch a children’s medical-legal partnership between Georgetown Law and Georgetown School of Medicine. She participates in the Special Education Advocate Roundtable. And she serves on the Asthma Disease Management Team and the DC Asthma Coalition, a consortium of healthcare and social-service providers advocating for children who need help to breathe easier.
Tracy, in sum, epitomizes the benefits that legal-services lawyers bring to our city and community. We are proud to select her for our 2017 Legal Services Award.
Learn more about Tracy and the other award recipients at our 2017 Awards Ceremony.
Karly Satkowiak is a student at American University’s Washington College of Law.