Clinical Professor Allison Rice received the American Bar Association’s Alexander D. Forger Award for Sustained Excellence in the Provision of HIV Legal Services and Advocacy on Feb. 23. Rice, who directs the Health Justice Clinic and teaches in the HIV/AIDS Policy Clinic, was one of five recipients of the Forger Award at the ABA AIDS Coordinating Committee’s bi-annual HIV Law & Practice Conference in New Orleans.
In the Health Justice Clinic, Rice supervises students in their provision of legal representation for individuals living with HIV and AIDS, cancer, and other serious health conditions. She is also engaged in statewide and national HIV/AIDS policy research and advocacy focused on health care access. She is a regular speaker and trainer on HIV legal issues, presenting to medical providers, case managers, government officials, and community members.
“This recognition of Allison’s work is well-deserved,” said Carolyn McAllaster, the Colin W. Brown Clinical Professor of Law, who directs the HIV/AIDS Policy Clinic. “She has long served as a powerful mentor for Duke Law students interested in health justice and a strong advocate for her many clients.” McAllaster, the founder and former director of the Health Justice Clinic (formerly the AIDS/HIV and Cancer Legal Project), received the Forger Award in 2014.
In addition to teaching the course components of the Health Justice Clinic and the HIV/AIDS Policy Clinic and providing direct legal services to clients, Rice oversees students’ representation of clients in cases involving estate planning, disability, insurance, public benefits, breach of confidentiality, and discrimination. In the HIV/AIDS policy clinic, she works with students on policy projects which have included monitoring and evaluating health plans offered through the Affordable Care Act with respect to their suitability for people living with HIV; studying insurance assistant programs offered by AIDS Drug Assistance Projects (ADAP) and advocating with North Carolina policy makers for expanded insurance cost assistance in the North Carolina ADAP program; reviewing and preparing comments on the proposed North Carolina 1115 Waiver; studying North Carolina HIV control measures and educating the HIV community about HIV criminalization. Many of these policy projects are collaborations with the North Carolina AIDS Action Network, of which Rice has been a board member.
Rice began her legal career in 1984 as a staff attorney at Legal Services of Southern Piedmont in Charlotte, N.C., where she later served as managing attorney. She joined the Duke Law faculty in 1994.
The Forger Awards were established in 2012 to honor individuals and organizations for their longtime provision of HIV legal services and other forms of advocacy. Michael Pates, who directs, the ABA’s Center for Human Rights and AIDS Coordination Project, said Rice was highly deserving of the award.
“Allison’s career is a testament to dedicated service to the public interest, which the Forger Award is meant to recognize,” he said. “First Carolyn McAllaster, now Allison Rice! Duke is lucky to have one, rich to have both. And so is the field of HIV law and policy.”