3L Awarded Prestigious Equal Justice Works Fellowship with Florida Health Justice Project



Melissa Lipnick

3L Melissa Lipnick

3L Miami Scholar, Melissa Lipnick, was recently selected to receive the highly competitive Equal Justice Works Fellowship, a project-based post-grad fellowship that allows Fellows to design their own social justice and public interest project to fill a gap in access to legal services. Beginning this fall, Lipnick will work as a Fellow with the Florida Health Justice Project in Miami where she will engage in individual and systemic advocacy to expand access and address barriers to Medicaid home health care, enabling more low-income Florida seniors to stay safely at home and out of nursing homes. Lipnick is also in Miami Law's joint J.D./LL.M. in real property development program.

“I strongly believe that health care is a human right, and that healthcare should be accessible to all. Nursing homes have had oversight and infection control issues for years, COVID just exacerbated these issues and showed how truly dangerous these environments can be,” said Lipnick.

Lipnick was ecstatic to receive this prestigious fellowship that will enable her to fulfill her passion of becoming a health rights advocate. Prior to law school, Lipnick received a B.S. in Public Health and, since beginning at Miami Law, has focused on health rights advocacy.

As a 2L, Lipnick participated in Miami Law’s Health Rights Clinic and she continued on as a Fellow as a 3L. She also served as a law clerk with the Florida Health Justice Project during her 2L summer and remained in the position during her 3L year. “I am grateful for this Equal Justice Works Fellowship because I believe that no one should be forced to choose between accessing needed healthcare and staying safely at home with their loved ones just because of their socio-economic status. Because of this Fellowship I will be able to serve as a resource to others and help them navigate the unnecessarily complex and confusing Long-Term Care Waiver system,” said Lipnick.

Lipnick has also taken advantage of a broader array of experiential and public interest opportunities while at Miami Law to build the practical skills that will help her make an impact as a Fellow. Lipnick was a member of the Public Interest Leadership Board, the Hispanic Law Students Association, and the Health Law Student Association. She participated in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, the Florida Bar Foundation’s Pro Bono Challenge, completed an alternative fall break with the Miami-Dade Office of the Public Defender and served as a site leader for HOPE Day of Service. During her 1L summer, Lipnick was an intern with the Broward Office of the Public Defender. Lipnick also served as an intern with the Community, Equity, Innovation, and Research Lab as a 1L, focusing on researching zoning and housing laws for Fair Housing and civil rights cases.

“We are so proud of Melissa and are thrilled that she was able to build her dream job through an Equal Justice Works Fellowship,” said Marni Lennon, Asst. Dean for Public Interest and Pro Bono and Director of the HOPE Public Interest Resource Center.

“Melissa will be an outstanding health rights advocate and we cannot wait to see all that she will accomplish.”

Read more about Miami Law's Miami Scholars Program
Read more about Miami Law's Social Justice and Public Interest Programs