B.A., University of Maryland; J.D., Stanford
Yael Cannon is the founding co-director, with Professor Vicki Girard, of the Georgetown University Health Justice Alliance, a cross-campus collaborative engaging in research, service, and academic efforts to train the next generation of attorneys, doctors, and healthcare professionals to advocate to improve social determinants of health for low-income families. Professor Cannon also established in 2017 and directs the Health Justice Alliance’s law clinic, which brings law and health students and professionals together to provide holistic legal services in a range of civil poverty law practice areas to secure housing, education, public benefits, and family stability for patients living in poverty in Washington D.C.
The law clinic embeds students in MedStar Georgetown Community Pediatrics health clinics at a homeless family shelter, a high school health center, and a pediatric mobile van, where patients are screened for unmet legal needs. Law students partner with healthcare providers and students to advance their casework. Georgetown University medical students participate in a one month rotation within the law clinic, which provides intensive learning and advocacy collaboration opportunities across disciplines. Professor Cannon also works closely with cross-campus research partners to develop and implement assessment tools to evaluate the impact of the Health Justice Alliance’s service and academic initiatives on learners, patients, clients and health providers. In its first year, the Health Justice Alliance team was recognized by Georgetown University and the Fox 5 Morning News as “Campus Heroes” for its work serving families in need in Washington, D.C.
Professor Cannon previously taught clinical poverty law courses and doctrinal courses at the University of New Mexico School of Law, where she was an Associate Professor. She led a successful effort there to secure a $2.6 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to develop a new law school initiative, the Center for Child and Family Justice, which prepares and mobilizes law students and graduates to pursue justice, equity, and health for New Mexico’s most vulnerable families. While in New Mexico, Professor Cannon co-chaired the state legislature’s John Paul Taylor Early Childhood Taskforce and served by appointment on the New Mexico Supreme Court’s Children’s Court Rules Committee. Professor Cannon began her law teaching career at the American University Washington College of Law, where she served as a Practitioner-in-Residence and Acting Director of the Disability Rights Law Clinic and taught doctrinal courses.
Prior to teaching, Professor Cannon was an attorney at the Children’s Law Center’s medical-legal partnership providing legal services at Washington, D.C. pediatric clinics and engaging in policy advocacy on behalf of low-income children and families. She is a co-author of the textbook Special Education Advocacy, the treatise AIDS and the Law, and articles in law journals and other periodicals, including a study conducted with the New Mexico Sentencing Commission of trauma among youth in the state’s juvenile justice system. Her research focuses on the ways in which the law can address social determinants of health to ensure better outcomes for children and families living in poverty. Professor Cannon graduated with distinction from Stanford Law School and summa cum laude from the University of Maryland with B.A. degrees in History and African American Studies.
"Health Justice Alliance: Supporting D.C.’s Vulnerable Populations through Health and the Law," coverage by Georgetown Law, August 9, 2019, quoting Associate Professor Yael Cannon.
"Seeking Social Justice for Patients, Medical Students Turn to the Law," coverage by Georgetown University Medical Center, January 11, 2019, mentioning Professor Vicki Girard and Associate Professor Yael Cannon.
"Return Immigrant Kids to Their Parents: Their Health Depends on It,"an opinion piece by Visiting Associate Professor Yael Cannon, in The National Law Journal, June 21, 2018.
"CURA COMMUNITAS: Building Health Equity in DC", coverage in the Georgetown Medicine Magazine, Spring/Summer 2017, featuring the Georgetown University Health Justice Alliance.