Megan Denk, Executive Director of THE PLAYERS Center for Child Health at Wolfson Children’s Hospital, was honored by Jacksonville Area Legal Aid at its Bridges to Justice for Children’s Health event June 19.
Denk was recognized for her leadership role in the Northeast Florida Medical Legal Partnership, through which Wolfson Children’s and other area health care institutions refer pediatric patients to legal aid when the children’s individual or family legal needs are adversely affecting their health.
Denk works with the partnership to develop tools and strategies to assess civil legal aid needs in vulnerable pediatric populations. She also partners with JALA in her administrative and legislative advocacy, recently offering a strong voice against proposed federal changes that would make it more difficult for lawfully residing immigrant children to access subsidized health insurance.
“At Wolfson Children’s we are always looking for ways to better serve our patients, and the Northeast Florida Medical Legal Partnership is a great example of that,” Denk said. “We know that the conditions in which people live, work and play have far greater impact on overall health than medical care. We are so thankful for the support to maintain this partnership, which allows us to care for the whole child.”
Under Denk’s leadership, THE PLAYERS Center for Child Health is committed to enhancing the health, wellness and quality of life of families throughout Northeast Florida by extending the hospital’s reach. THE PLAYERS Center helps children avoid unnecessary hospitalizations by focusing on prevention, health and wellness, access and community education.
In her role, Denk is responsible for providing strategic direction on population health efforts and representing Wolfson Children’s in government affairs through the Florida Association of Children’s Hospitals and the Children’s Hospital Association.
She is also actively involved in the community, serving as board chair for the Northeast Florida Healthy Start Coalition and chair of the Duval County Public Schools School Health Advisory Council. She received the 2019 Phillip Gilbert Award for Outstanding Community Service from the Northeast Florida Healthy Start Coalition.
Hosted by Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, the event at which JALA recognized Denk was the kickoff for the organization’s 2019 fundraising drive for the Northeast Florida Medical Legal Partnership. The effort will culminate Dec. 15-20 with Freed to Run 3.0, the third annual Tallahassee- to-Jacksonville event in which attorney Mike Freed and local relay teams will run six consecutive marathons beginning on the steps of the Florida Supreme Court and ending on the lawn of the Duval County Courthouse.
JALA is nearly a third of the way to fulfilling its pledge to raise $1 million toward an endowment for the Northeast Florida Medical Legal Partnership that will be matched at 125% by Baptist Health, for a total of $2.25 million. The endowment will fund the partnership in perpetuity, ensuring that pediatric patients in Northeast Florida will always have access to assistance with legal issues involving health insurance coverage, safe housing, educational accommodations, immigration, and access to transportation and other community services.
Photo Caption: JALA CEO Jim Kowalski and Megan Denk.