In 2016, Yael Cannon co-founded, with Professor Vicki Girard, the Georgetown University Health Justice Alliance, an academic Medical-Legal Partnership training the next generation of health, law, and policy leaders to work together in pursuit of health justice as they serve some of the most vulnerable members of our D.C. community. Professor Cannon serves as the Legal Director of this cross-campus collaborative and also serves as Director of the Health Justice Alliance’s Law Clinic, which brings together students and professionals in law and health to provide holistic civil legal advocacy to address the social determinants of health for patients living in poverty in Washington D.C.

In the law clinic, students advocate in housing, public benefits, Medicaid, and educational law cases to remove barriers to health and well-being for patient families of MedStar Georgetown Community Pediatrics health clinics. Community Pediatrics operates a pediatric mobile van and two high school-based health centers that bring low-barrier healthcare directly to communities. When patients see the doctor, they are screened for unmet legal needs through a “legal check-up” and the healthcare team refers families to the law clinic for free legal assistance. Law students, medical students, and pediatricians partner in an interdisciplinary collaboration to provide client-centered advocacy to ensure that children and their families have housing, food, and economic security, access to healthcare, and educational access and supports to allow them to thrive. 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.


Forthcoming Works - Journal Articles & Working Papers

Yael Cannon, Beyond Survival: Toward A Legal Theory of Equitable Thriving to Combat Maternal and Child Health Inequity, 113 Geo. L.J. (forthcoming 2024).
Yael Cannon, The Persistent Public Health Emergency, 55 Colum. Hum. Rts. L. Rev. (forthcoming 2024).
Yael Cannon, Case and Commentary: Medical-Legal Partnerships to Advance Health Justice, Am. Med. Ass’n J. Ethics (forthcoming 2024).

Forthcoming Works - Book Chapters & Collected Works

Yael Cannon, Health Justice for Families of Color, in Race, Families, and the Impact of Structural Inequality in the 21st Century (Robin Lenhardt & Nancy Dowd eds., New York University Press forthcoming).

Book Chapters & Collected Works

Yael Cannon & Nicole Tuchinda, Schools and Educational Programs, in AIDS and the Law §§ 5.01-5.04 (Scott Skinner-Thompson ed., New York: Wolters Kluwer 6th ed. 2022 & Supp. 2023-2024).