Patient Advocacy Clinic

Our capable advocates are here to help.


What We Do


What does patient advocacy mean to us? It means helping people with serious illnesses find the care they need. It means helping patients, families, and providers communicate, negotiate, and make tough, important calls. We educate our team of graduate and professional students in the best way we know how—by giving them an opportunity to support real patients in real situations. This commitment to education and advocacy is only matched by our commitment to equity and access. As such, all advocacy services at the Center are offered free of charge.

We serve patients with life-threatening and serious illnesses and their families, regardless of income or residence. It’s not our position to manage a patient’s care for them—we empower and encourage our clients to captain their own ship whenever possible. Client and advocate decide together what kind of advocacy is necessary.

Among other things, we help clients: clarify diagnosis and treatment options, make decisions based on those options, negotiate coverage with healthcare stakeholders, help clarify financing options for treatments, and build their own self-advocacy skills as needed.


What We Don’t Do


We do not provide legal, medical or financial advice and we do not litigate (file lawsuit or take large cases to court). We do not provide representation in external appeals (e.g., private insurance, Medicaid, Medicare, SSI, SSDI).

We provide referrals to community resources when available and appropriate. You are welcome to contact us for assistance. Legal referrals are also available from State Bar Associations.


What To Expect


  • You reach out to us because you or someone you know faces a serious or life-threatening illness.
  • A student patient advocate will contact you to schedule a telephone appointment, usually within two or three business days. Plan for a 30-45 minute call.
  • On the phone, we’ll identify key issues, determine how urgent your case might be, and identify if our advocacy services are a good fit. If it becomes clear that another organization is better equipped to assist you, we’ll provide you with a good referral.
  • If you need it, you may be paired with a student advocate who will work with you on a long-term basis. On average, our advocacy relationships last between three to five months.
  • The Center works on an academic calendar. At the end of a semester, your student advocate may change. If this should happen, we’re happy to help you transition.
  • We close a case when our role has been fulfilled, all advocacy avenues have been exhausted, or when you have resolved the issues you called on us to help you with.
  • You can reapply for our services at any time.
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