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McNair Scholar 2016Karen Bonfil-Ruiz

Karen Bonfil-Ruiz is a senior at the University of Minnesota, majoring in sociology with a minor in public health. Her research interest includes ways to address the impact negative social determinants have on health. Bonfil plans on earning a masters in nursing and a doctor of nursing practice degree.

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As a registered nurse, I will address the ways in which
poverty-induced hardships impact health in underrepresented communities.

Research project

Healthcare Legal Partnerships Needs Assessment

Abstract: Healthcare legal partnerships improve the health of patients by addressing unmet health-harming legal needs through the integration of civil legal services in healthcare settings. The goal of this research project is to conduct a needs assessment of a federally qualified health center in St. Paul, Minnesota, to explore the necessity of healthcare legal partnerships. The importance of conducting a needs assessment among federally qualified health centers stems from the reality that economically vulnerable residents in Minnesota experience negative social determinants that adversely impact their health. The I-HELP model will be used to develop an assessment tool that evaluates how negative social determinants pertaining to income, insurance, housing, utilities, employment, education, legal status, personal and family safety interconnect with legal needs. The Plan-Act-Do-Study quality improvement approach will be used in this project to more accurately assess the perceived legal needs of the clinic's patients. Download poster. [PDF]

Faculty profile

Eileen Weber is a nurse attorney and clinical assistant professor in the University of Minnesota School of Nursing. Weber obtained her Juris Doctor degree from the University of St. Thomas, Minneapolis, and her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree from the University of Minnesota. She directs the Upper Midwest Healthcare Legal Partnership Learning Collaborative. Her work centers on eliminating negative social determinants through law, policy, and interprofessionalism. Her mission is promoting just, equitable, universal healthcare through healthcare legal partnerships. She serves on the University of Minnesota Medical Center Ethics Committee and is the former vice president of the Minnesota Nurses Association.