Skip to main content
Will Pelletiers

Will Pelletiers ’19

"Sustainability and Social Return on Investment of Medical Legal Partnerships"

Major: Public Health
Hometown: Bethlehem, PA
Project Advisor: Dr. James Teufel

Briefly describe your project.

Medical-Legal Partnerships are creative solutions to mend the civil justice gap that stems from a systemic flaw in the United States constitution. By analyzing 4,000 cases from Medical-Legal Partnerships, the project works to estimate a social return on investment for stakeholder financial interests. Establishing an expected value that hospital systems and other stakeholders can use, greatly increases the probability of these social innovations disseminating to other parts of the country and aiding more at-risk populations.

Describe the origin of your project.

This project was an extension of work that my mentor has been working on for the better half of a decade. My mentor came to ask for my help on extending the project to include the last 7 years of available data. 

What’s the best part about working with your faculty mentor? What valuable insights have they brought to your project?

By far, one of the best things I have been taught is how to adapt to a problem that arises in terms of statistics and results. While I am able to understand the initial problem and how to investigate it, Dr. Teufel is able to look beyond and pick up on subtle hints that may lead to a more meaningful result, if we ask some different questions. 

What has been your biggest obstacle so far?

Self-doubt. I tend to rely on imposter syndrome and believe that I cannot work on projects that anyone else would have interest in. My mentor has done a lot of work making sure that I realize I can do some of the more intense parts of a project, regardless of what I think of myself.

What has been your biggest takeaway from this experience?

Sometimes research is an excellent way to answer questions that other people already have, instead of developing your own brand-new unique research question. Helping organizations with projects they don’t have the skills to accomplish can be extremely interesting, rewarding, and teach you new skills that only this kind of project would lend to. 

What was the result of your project? 

Our project results will be sent to the National Center for Medical-Legal Partnerships and then on to the individual organizations that supplied our data. Hopefully, the data will be used to encourage other organizations to embrace an MLP. 

In your own words, how do you feel about being awarded this opportunity? Why should other students take advantage of the SOAR program at Moravian College?

SOAR is the best opportunity for Moravian Students to work at-length on a research project. For many of us, this is our chance to try research and that opportunity cannot be replaced by any class. Moravian Students should absolutely try SOAR even to find-out research may not be for them. I am so honored and cannot thank the SOAR team enough for their time and effort.

Now that SOAR is over, do you plan to expand upon your research? If so, how?

I really hope to continue expanding the research around Medical-Legal Partnerships and their efficacy in different environments. While it will take years to have the data to expand this exact research question, I know this is great starting place for related research. 

Have you, or do you plan to present this research outside the SOAR presentations?

Unfortunately, we will not be able to present the data until the NCMLP approves our findings. However, after that process we hope to publish this research.