Jill A. Hanken Fund

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Jill A. Hanken Scholarship Fund

For over 40 years, Jill Hanken worked at VPLC and paved the way for better healthcare in the Commonwealth. A relentless advocate for low-income Virginians, she successfully fought for advances that have given hundreds of thousands access to healthcare.

Perhaps lesser known is Jill’s long history of mentoring healthcare advocates within Virginia’s legal aid community. To honor her work, VPLC and Jill’s friends and colleagues established the Jill A. Hanken Scholarship Fund dedicated to training health law advocates in Virginia’s legal aid community.

Many programs operate on limited budgets, which often means few resources for professional development. The Scholarship Fund will remove some of these financial burdens and allow healthcare advocates to receive essential training and support.

The program will grant yearly scholarships to select legal aid healthcare professionals to attend educational trainings of their choice. Further application details will be announced soon.



Deborah Oswalt

“Whether arguing before the U.S. Supreme Court, interpreting regulations, or explaining the unintended consequences of certain bills to legislators, Jill has always zealously represented the interests of low-income Virginians. She has consistently ‘gone to the mat’ on behalf of those she serves, and while she has sometimes had to stay on that mat for multiple years, she has never given up until she has succeeded. The Jill A. Hanken Scholarship Program will create a legacy that will nurture future health law leaders within Virginia’s legal aid community, much as Jill has done during her 40 years at VPLC. We intend for this legacy and tribute to her to live on for many years.”

- Deborah Oswalt, Executive Director, Virginia Health Care Foundation

Ann Holton

“I was one of the hundreds of legal aid lawyers blessed to have Jill as a mentor and role model early in my career. She taught me health law, how to be a vigorous advocate, how to balance family and work, and so much more. Virginia’s families have benefitted tremendously from her work, and our Commonwealth is a better place for all because of her.”

- Anne Holton,
former First Lady of Virginia, former Virginia Secretary of Education

Jack Harris

“Jill’s work on behalf of lower-income Virginians and their families has changed thousands of lives for the better and has proven that even the most difficult goals can be achieved by someone who simply would not accept ‘no’ for an answer. She is an extraordinary lawyer, teacher, leader, and friend whose innovative ideas and tireless advocacy, in the Courts, in the General Assembly, before administrative agencies, and in the larger community has often, against all odds, achieved great victories leading to vastly improved access to healthcare for millions of Virginians.”

- Jack Harris,
former Executive Director, Virginia Poverty Law Center, Legal Services Corporation of Virginia,
and Virginia Trial Lawyers Association

Jay Speer

“Jill is the heart and soul of VPLC. She’s been a trusted advisor to legal aid attorneys in Virginia and around the country. She will be sorely missed, but she has created a legion of legal aid attorneys and health care advocates to carry on her work to bring healthcare to all.”

- Jay Speer,
Executive Director, Virginia Poverty Law Center

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