A Birthday Request (fwd)

Anitra Again (anitra@speakeasy.org)
Tue, 24 Feb 1998 06:50:57 -0800 (PST)

This request, from another list, seemed worthwhile to pass on here,
not because any of us have any money to donate, but because knowing
about the program may at some time be helpful. 

Not all lawyers are sharks or shark-bait, any more than all
psychiatrists are Evil Incarnate. :)

(Because none of you know this woman yourself, I've snipped the more
personal bits.)

So here is my request.  My family has helped establish a Scholarship in my
mothers name, The Vivian Cohn Smith Scholarship for Patient Advocacy. All
I'm asking for is a small donation to the Scholarship from anyone who feels
moved to give.  It is tax deductible. 
Make checks out to the NAELA Memorial Fund. Tell them it is to be applied
to the Vivian Cohn Smith Scholarship for Patient Advocacy and send to :

National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Inc.  
1604 North Country Club Road 
Tucson, AZ 85716-3102

Make sure you include your name and address so that a receipt can be
returned for your charitable tax deduction.
Now I'm sure you all would like to know what exactly a Scholarship for
Patient Advocacy does, so I'm going to tell you.

[Edited from email from my Aunt who is a lawyer in DC and works with
Elder Law]

The Vivian Cohn Smith Scholarship for Patient Advocacy is being 
set up in Vivian's name through the National Academy of Elder Law
Attorneys (NAELA).  To understand what has been proposed to the
organization and why it is an appropriate rememberance of Vivian 
I need to tell you a little about the organization and its members.  
Then I will explain how the funding and scholarship will work. 

NAELA is an organization which has grown from 35 members ten years ago
to 3200 members this year. It is now considered one of the preeminent
national organizations in this field.  While it is called Elder Law its
members are attorneys who service the elderly, incapacitated persons of
all ages, and their families. The issues of the elderly and the
incapacitated overlap substantially.  The attorneys consider their
practices to be holistic.  We don't practice one kind of law.  Instead
we handle all the legal issues which arise for the client and family,
often. because one of them is ill. Most of us work in tandem with social
workers, medical professionals, care managers, and others in an effort
to serve all the needs of our clients and their families. The attorneys
practice in both the private sector (like me, they charge for their
services) and in the public sector (neighborhood legal offices and
national advocacy groups) 

NAELA gives two multi-day training sessions each year.  The scholarship
would be to the annual symposium which is for everyone from beginners to
experienced practitioners. It lasts four and one-half days in May moving
to different geographical location each year. There is a full day
introductory course.  Other courses include everything from traditional
estate planning (wills and stuff), to planning for disability (powers of
attorney, obtaining government medical benefits, to assisting families
to make and get enforced end of life decisions, to understanding the
cultural differences of our families which impact on the kinds of
decisions they make, to courses explaining about pain, medications for
it, and dealing with hospitals to have it properly cared for.  

The Symposium is expensive to attend.  Without transportation, but
including room and board in a shared room, it probably runs about
$1000.  Many of our members can't afford to attend.  Such persons might
include people like me when I practiced part-time while raising a
family, or someone just starting to practice law, a law student or a
poorly paid public lawyer in an underfunded neighborhood legal office.  

We want to create an endowment made up of our and our friend's
donations to the newly created NAELA Memorial Fund.  The interest from
these funds would be used to fund an annual scholarship to the
Symposium for a NAELA member who could not otherwise afford to go and
who will use his or her training as a patient's advocate. The VIVIAN
COHN SMITH scholarship will be NAELA's first such effort. The papers
have been filed with the IRS so that donations made to the Memorial Fund
will be tax deductible. 

"...in Manhattan the income gap between rich and poor is greater
than in Guatemala, and within the U.S. is surpassed only by a 
group of 70 households near a former leper colony in Hawaii."
						--NY Times
Anitra Freeman
The Great Speckled Bird Homeless Column