Helen Gratil is Project Director of Beyond Opioids. As the Director of Mission Engagement for Legal Aid of Arkansas, she conceptualized Beyond Opioids, a justice project that integrates legal aid attorneys in the state’s opioid crisis response through community partnership. To implement that vision, she raised $2.2 million through the Health Resources & Services Administration’s Rural Communities Opioid Response Program (RCORP). As the Director of Beyond Opioids, Helen leads the two legal aid programs in the Arkansas in changing the way we discuss and treat people with substance use disorder in justice systems. Beyond Opioids aims to raise awareness on the critical role of civil legal attorneys in the spectrum of care for people going through or recovering from OUD and their support system. The legal aid programs of Arkansas lead the nation in championing for families struggling with substance use disorders by developing internal cultural competency and legal expertise in handling SUD cases through Beyond Opioids. Finally, she leads the sustainability of Beyond Opioids in Arkansas, through local and federal fundraising efforts, and assists in the development of similar programs in the region and across the nation.
Before joining the legal aid community of Arkansas, Helen worked for more than nine years with the United Nations Development (UNDP) program in administrative and technical roles to support global poverty reduction programs. She has joined multiple international missions through UNDP including Baghdad, Amman, Bangkok, France, and the Bahamas. She then shifted gears to earn her Juris Doctorate from Vermont Law School to gain expertise in environmental protection. After law school, she briefly worked as a Public Defender in upstate NY before taking the role of President for Environmental Projection of the Caribbean, a nonprofit environmental protection group in the Caribbean that focuses on endangered species and environmental conservation projects. These experiences prepared Helen well in her current leadership role, assisting poverty populations in Arkansas through civil legal aid services and nonprofit management.
Legal leaders from Arkansas, Kentucky and Texas discuss how their organizations acquired opioid settlement funds and the impactful legal services they are providing to those affected by opioid use disorder on LSC’s...
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