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This Architect of Change Is Moving Humanity Forward with a Mission to Create Medical Justice for All By Helping People in Prison

This Architect of Change Is Moving Humanity Forward with a Mission to Create Medical Justice for All By Helping People in Prison

By Meghan Rabbitt
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In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mark Fenig, MD, MPH, couldn’t help but feel defeated—something he was unaccustomed to in the clinical setting. “I worked in an Emergency Room in New York City during the worst weeks of the initial Covid wave and could hardly keep up with the overwhelming amount of death,” he says. “A lot of the time my work felt futile, something ER docs don’t usually feel.”

Around that time, Dr. Fenig saw a friend’s post seeking help caring for those in prison. “When the opportunity came up to actually punch back, I couldn’t resist,” he says. In October 2020, he launched Medical Justice Alliance, a non-profit dedicated to protecting the right to health care promised to every person incarcerated.

By the time the vaccines rolled out and death rates dropped, Dr. Fenig had learned so much about medical care (or lack thereof) in prisons that he felt compelled to continue working on this problem. The pandemic highlighted a pre-existing and long-standing crisis, Dr. Fenig explains: People in prison suffer disproportionately from chronic health conditions, their acute medical needs often go unmet, and the carceral healthcare system that serves them is predetermined for failure by a lack of resources and infrastructure. For every year served, people in prison lose two years of life.

“Covid was just the tip of the iceberg,” he says. “Today, MJA continues to grow rapidly to address a much larger medical apartheid that exists invisibly in the country.”

To learn more about this organization that’s embracing inclusion and moving humanity forward, click here.

Meghan Rabbitt

Meghan Rabbitt is an editor at The Sunday Paper, and a writer and editorial strategist whose work is published in national magazines and websites. You can learn and read more at the link above.

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