Vicki W. Girard, J.D. is a Professor of Law, Legal Practice and the Faculty Director of the Georgetown University Health Justice Alliance. Prior to joining the Law Center, Professor Girard worked at several firms in Washington D.C. and developed a specialty in representing cosmetic, pharmaceutical, and biotech companies in FDA-related proceedings and other regulatory and policy matters. From 1994 until joining the Law Center in 2003, Professor Girard was a member of the Food and Drug Law Practice Group at Hogan & Hartson (now Hogan Lovells).
Professor Girard’s interest in the intersections between health, law, and justice has fueled her pursuit of medical-legal partnership as a way to more effectively address the health-harming legal needs of underserved and vulnerable populations. In her Health Justice Alliance role, Professor Girard is working across schools at the University to expand Georgetown’s direct engagement with D.C. residents and foster inter-professional collaborations and solutions aimed at reducing health disparities. She graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown Law Center and completed her undergraduate degree cum laude at Drew University. She sits on the Community Advisory Board of the Georgetown Office of Minority Health, is a member of the Public Stakeholders Committee of the National Board of Medical Examiners, and serves on the Academic Programs Committee at the Food and Drug Law Institute.
Yael Cannon, J.D. is an Associate Professor of Law, the Legal Director of the Georgetown University Health Justice Alliance and Faculty Director of the Health Justice Alliance’s law clinic, which she established in 2017 to bring 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.
Eileen S. Moore, M.D. is an Associate Professor of Internal Medicine and Family Medicine, the Medical Director of the Georgetown University Health Justice Alliance, and the Associate Dean for Community Education and Advocacy. Dr. Moore completed her fellowship in primary care and health policy at Georgetown University in 2000 and has served on the faculty at the Georgetown University School of Medicine since then, in addition to tending to her robust clinical practice in general internal medicine.
Dr. Moore has a keen interest in progressive medical education and has dedicated much of her career to sharing her passion for access to care and quality of care for underserved and vulnerable populations with the next generation of doctors. Since 2007, Dr. Moore has served as the medical director for the HOYA Clinic, the first student-run free clinic in Washington D.C., located in the D.C. General Emergency Family Shelter. Since 2008, she has also directed the Health Justice Scholar Track at the Medical Center, a longitudinal four-year curriculum that teaches students how to work at the intersection of advocacy and policy to achieve health equity. She is the recipient of multiple awards for her excellent clinical and educational efforts including the April, 2015, Excellence in Clinic Teaching Award GUSOM HOYA Clinic and a HeRO Award Recipient from Medstar Health System in March 2015.
Lisa Kessler, MBA, is the Director of Operations for the Health Justice Alliance. Ms. Kessler has over 10 years of experience in nonprofit management and community-based work, including as an associate in CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield’s leadership development program, where she rotated through various business units to understand opportunities and challenges and contributed on high level strategic projects. Ms. Kessler previously worked at Georgetown Law as the program coordinator in the Community Justice Project, where she refined and enhanced the clinic’s work with nonprofit clients, and at LIFT-DC, where she trained and supervised college students working one-on-one with low-income community members to chart a path out of poverty. As an undergraduate, she interned at the Medical-Legal Partnership at Boston Medical Center, the founding site of the national medical-legal partnership network, where she assisted clients with housing issues negatively impacting their health.
Ms. Kessler received her Master’s in Business Administration from Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business and her undergraduate degree in Community Health and Spanish from Tufts University.
Deborah F. Perry, PhD, is a Professor of Pediatrics, Director of Research and Evaluation for the Health Justice Alliance and Director of Research and Evaluation at the Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development. Dr. Perry works to develop, implement, evaluate, and assess the role and impact of the Health Justice Alliance on patient knowledge, health, and well-being, as well as on student educational and professional learning and behavior. Dr. Perry is also leading efforts by the Health Justice Alliance to generate data to support scaling of its medical-legal partnership model to other academic institutions, health clinics, and hospital centers, and to identify measures of well-being and relevant health outcomes that are sensitive to the addition of legal services within healthcare clinic settings.
As a member of GUCCHD, Dr. Perry is a well-published Professor in the Pediatrics Department of the Georgetown University Medical Center and has led community-based participatory research projects for more than 20 years. Her doctorate is in public health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where she also served as the Director of the Women’s and Children’s Health Policy Center.
Ana M. Caskin, M.D., is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, the Deputy Medical Director for the Georgetown University Health Justice Alliance, the Associate Medical Director for Community Pediatrics at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital and the Medical Director of the School Health Center at Anacostia Senior High School. Dr. Caskin is the primary medical partner responsible for overseeing the implementation of the legal services offered to students registered at the School Health Center at Anacostia High School located in Ward 8 of Washington DC. Dr. Caskin is a native Washingtonian and earned her BA and MD from University of Virginia. She trained as a resident in pediatrics at Georgetown University Hospital and elected to stay with Georgetown primarily because of its strong community pediatrics focus. Among her areas of research interest are the effects of trauma and toxic stress on children and adolescents.
Susan V. Coleman, MPH, BSN, RN is a faculty member at the School of Nursing and Health Studies (NHS) and the NHS Director of the Georgetown University Health Justice Alliance. Professor Coleman is a public health nurse with a specialty area working with vulnerable populations both in clinical and teaching practice. She coordinates the “Care for Vulnerable Populations” courses at NHS and works with students in clinical settings in the DC area. She serves on the board of a homeless services organization and has held leadership positions in national organizations including the American Public Health Association (APHA). She is the founder and former co-director of the Diversity and Social Justice Committee in the Public Health Nursing (PHN) Section of APHA and has worked in a leadership capacity on several initiatives to combat racism and work towards health equity through APHA workshops. Additionally, Professor Coleman has a leadership role in developing several inter-professional initiatives between the NHS and the School of Medicine (SOM) at Georgetown University. She is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the University of Michigan School of Nursing.
Fr. Ricardo N. Avila, S.J. is a Visiting Legal Fellow & Scholar with the Georgetown University Health Justice Alliance. Prior to joining the HJA team, Ricardo represented poor and working poor New Yorkers in consumer law matters as a staff attorney at CAMBA Legal Services in Brooklyn, New York. He has experience in consumer, commercial, insurance and reinsurance litigation and arbitration. He also has experience in corporate transactional work.
Ricardo received his J.D. from Yale Law School. He also holds an M.Div. and an S.T.B. from the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University, an M.A.P.R. (Philosophical Resources) from Fordham University and a B.A. in Political Science and Latin American Studies from the University of Chicago.