Carolyn Pointer, JD

Assistant Professor, Population Science and Policy

    About me

    Carolyn Pointer, JD, joined the faculty at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine and School of Law as an assistant professor in 2014. She teaches social determinants of health to undergraduate and graduate medical students. She teaches a law school course on rural health law. Her research focuses on the benefits of addressing patients' health-harming legal needs to both patients and medical providers through a Medical-Legal Partnership being built with the Department of Family Medicine and Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation. Medical-legal partnerships train medical providers to screen patients for legal issues impacting health outcomes, make appropriate referrals to community resources, and change policies to improve community health outcomes. 

    She also has a dual faculty appointment with the Department of Population Science and Policy. Her research identifies the policy problems resulting in poor community health outcomes. In the Department of Population Science and Policy, her role is to reduce health inequities for the people of central and southern Illinois through policy change. She also coordinates the fourth year Medical Humanities Clerkship.

    Pointer has worked with medical-legal partnerships at the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville, the University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, and Boston University Medical Center. As an attorney, she practiced law in Massachusetts and Virginia. Her litigation and policy work focused on improving legal and medical outcomes for low-income patients.

    Research Interests

    • Medical-Legal Partnerships
    • Social Determinants of Health

    Curricular Topics

    • Social Determinants of Health
    • Vaccine Law
    • Medical Malpractice
    • Health Policy

    Degrees and Granting Institutions

    • JD, Boston University School of Law
    • BS, Boston University School of Education



    Education & training

    Undergraduate Degree
    Boston University School of Law
    Boston University School of Education


    Faculty award for community service from the Boston University School of Law