PHLP's Janice Meinert to Receive 2024 PLAN Excellence Award

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PHLP is excited to share that Janice Meinert, MSW, has been selected to receive a 2024 Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network (PLAN) Excellence Award. Janice's work will be honored in the Outstanding Non-Attorney Advocate category. This award celebrates the indispensable contributions of staff within the PLAN network who have left indelible marks on their communities through steadfast advocacy and an enduring spirit of service.

"Spirit of service" could not more perfectly describe the kind of advocate Janice is.  She started her career as a social worker counseling young parents receiving substance use disorder services at Zoar Home in Pittsburgh. There, her experience led her to pursue a master’s degree in social work at the University of Pittsburgh.  After graduation, she continued to work at Zoar Home as a Master’s level social worker, specializing in mental health and substance use disorder treatment and recovery.  Janice joined PHLP as a paralegal in our Pittsburgh office in 2000.  She has made incredible contributions to PHLP and the entire PLAN network.  Janice's deep background in treatment and recovery along with the Medicaid expertise she has developed over the last twenty-four years with PHLP have made her not only a skilled advocate, but a tenacious one.

One of Janice's most incredible skills is her ability to communicate complex information in a clear and helpful way. Throughout her career, Janice has trained thousands of Pennsylvaians, empowering them about their rights  in the health care system. She has trained other advocates about how they can help their own clients in the same way.  As a community organizer, Janice learns of a problem and immediately starts working with those who are most directly impacted to begin creating solutions.

Janice is deeply admired and appreciated by everyone who has ever had the pleasure of working with her. She personifies the core tenet of PLAN’s mission of remaining client-centered in her approach to her work. Mike Campbell, one of PHLP’s founders and former Executive Director, reflects on Janice’s work and client commitment:

Perhaps most telling in terms of Janice’s incredible impact on the PLAN network and its clients are the heartfelt messages and testimonials PHLP receives from Janice’s clients and their loved ones. Janice’s ability to connect with her clients, in addition to effectively addressing their legal issue,  is unmatched. Here is one heartfelt note Janice received from one client following the resolution of their case:

Janice’s long career of steadfast advocacy has made a world of difference to the people she has helped and to those she has empowered through community education, outreach, systemic advocacy efforts. We are proud to have Janice working alongside us, with and on behalf of PHLP’s clients. We are looking forward to gathering with the Pennsylvania legal aid community on March 27th to celebrate Janice and all the 2024 PLAN Excellence Awards winners.