SIU School of Law teams with medical students to help veterans

SIU Law school helps veterans

CARBONDALE, Ill. (KFVS) - A unique partnership at Southern Illinois University aims to help Heartland veterans in need.

Jarmeika Taylor served 12 years in the National Guard.

"I watched a lot of my buddies struggle with mental health, physical health, they struggled with just finding the help they needed," she said.

Now, she’s studying at SIU school of law in hopes of giving back.

“I know when I came back from Iraq I struggled, but it was all internal. People didn’t see it and it looked great on paper but there’s scars that people don’t see,” she said.

Taylor is now working with her colleagues through the veterans legal assistance program which focuses on disability cases.

"The cool thing about our program is that we get to work the process from start to finish, we get to make the initial connect with the veteran,"said Taylor.

But the cases rely heavily on medical records for evidence. That's why it's switching gears to add the medical students to the team.

“Having the medical student means that I don’t have to spend days or weeks trying to figure out what these notes from a surgical procedure mean," Taylor explained.

Director of the program Martin Parsons is also a veteran.

"It's great cooperative learning for the law students to have to explain a legal matter to a professional who doesn't necessarily understand the legal stuff, and for the medical students to then likewise," Parsons said.

“The goal is to serve the clients better that we have so they have a better chance of prevailing on their claim," he said.

Taylor said she’s going to make sure she gives her all to help those who served this this country.

“I want this to be perfect. I want this person to have a chance. I want to put my best foot forward,” she said.

The collaboration started back in early November. They have worked on one case so far.

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