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UIC Law Student Connects with Policymakers to Advocate for Stronger Behavioral Health and Justice Initiatives

Ashley Tuburan

3L2 student Ashley Tuburan was selected to participate in an Independent Study Program, connecting her to Illinois’ first Statewide Behavioral Health Administrator hired by the Supreme Court, Scott Block, and Director of Preventive Emergency Medicine for UI Health Stephen Brown, MSW, LCSW.

Tuburan’s research targeted Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) programs, which caters to individuals who struggle from mental illness are mandated by the court to fully engage with a treatment plan. She conducted secondary research from Assistant State’s Attorneys, policy makers, and ED physicians, judges, police officers, and ER nurses to gather insight on the state of mental health in individuals being treated at the hospitals and out on the streets. Tuburan also compared and contrasted health laws against other states, compiling a list of the best and worst response plans to mental health crises from legislators to share with IL policymakers to carry out the next phases of the project.

Tuburan’s motivation to study health law stems from her time as a police officer working as a member of the crisis intervention team. She often responded to calls from individuals experiencing a breakdown in their mental health, whether it be suicide ideations or threats to hurt themselves or someone else. As a fellow veteran herself, Tuburan also understood mental health to be a major pain point in those who have served in the military.

Seeing a constant rise in suicide cases and lack of mental health programs is what motivated Tuburan to go into health law, citing that often times people do not have family that care about them to ensure that their mental health is intact.

“I want to reduce the stigma and become a strong advocate for those that need someone to speak up for them,” Tuburan said.


Face the Fight: Law Student Ashley Tuburan Assists Veterans Experiencing Crisis Through USAA Mental Health Initiative

UIC Law student Ashley Tuburan, a Chief Legal Office summer intern recently wrote a piece about her experience with the USAA Government and Industry Relations “Face the Fight” initiative. The initiative seeks to provide resources to Veterans suffering from PTSD, suicidal ideations, and other mental health crises.

“I was introduced to the Face the Fight™ initiative by USAA’s Government and Industry Relations (GIR) team within the first couple days of my internship with USAA. From the second I heard about Face the Fight™, I knew that I wanted to become involved. The important message behind this campaign sits incredibly close with me and my family. For the past 9 years, prior to attending law school, I have served as a police officer. I quickly learned that being a police officer was much more than arresting criminals. More often, it was coming face to face with people who were having some of the worst days of their lives. I often responded to calls involving individuals experiencing mental health crises or threatening to die by suicide…”