Teresa Yao

Teresa Yao is a May 2018 graduate from Washington University School of Law and the George Warren Brown School of Social Work, where she received her joint JD/MSW degree with a concentration on Older Adults and Aging Society. She has served as an Executive Editor of the Washington University Law Review and Co-Chair of the Public Service Committee of the Public Service Advisory Board.

During both her legal and social work training, Teresa gained an appreciation for the diverse range of legal and social challenges faced by older adults, and the holistic approach necessary to address them. Through her work experience with the ABA Commission on Law and Aging, she was exposed to the breadth of issues in the field of law and aging via involvement in projects on healthcare decision-making, guardianship, and elder abuse. She has engaged in policy and advocacy work with the Alzheimer’s Association, where she spoke with state lawmakers, advocated for caregiver interests, and reviewed statutory language for state legislation pertaining to healthcare decision-making. At Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, she worked directly with victims of domestic abuse and served clients’ legal and social needs as a dual law and social work intern. Most recently, she worked at Crown Center for Senior Living, an independent living community for older adults. There, she interacted directly with senior residents, forming meaningful relationships with older adults from a wide range of cultural and personal backgrounds. In particular, she found her time addressing social needs for Limited-English Proficiency (LEP) older adults to be a rewarding experience, and is keenly interested in continuing to develop programs and resources for this population.

For her Borchard fellowship, Teresa will work on establishing a Medical-Legal Partnership (MLP) between her sponsoring organization, the Legal Assistance Foundation, and Rush University Medical Center. The MLP will center on creating a free legal clinic servicing low-income older adults from communities in the West Side of Chicago, with a focus on providing holistic client-centered care that addresses older adults’ legal and social needs. In addition to establishing the community clinic, Teresa will be involved in direct representation for clients that come through the clinic and draft research papers exploring hurdles faced by vulnerable older adult populations, including LEP and isolated seniors.

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