Established in 1982, the Center for Health Law Studies was one of the first law school programs to focus on the intersection of the health care system and the legal system.

As a health law concentration student, you'll have access to top-tier faculty; leading scholars, practitioners and employers; and one-on-one support and guidance from staff who work together to give you a competitive edge as you pursue a career in health law.

Our health law graduates work across the country, where the Center's reputation is highly regarded. For 16 of the last 17 years, U.S. News & World Report has named the Center for Health Law Studies the nation's top health law program.

Student opportunities

The Center for Health Law Studies offers a variety of opportunities for students during their time at SLU LAW.

Make a Difference in the Legal Clinics

Second- and third-year students, supervised by practicing lawyers, work in the SLU LAW Legal Clinics as student attorneys. As a health law student, you'll have the opportunity to participate in case development and appellate advocacy concerning substantial legal matters such as state health policy.

Gain Experience in Field Placements

Field placements provide opportunities for law students to learn in health law practice settings. Placement experiences enrich students' legal education through skill development, increased understanding of substantive law, development of professional responsibility and identity, and institutional understanding.

In the field

Health law field placements and summer experiences have included (in addition to private firms):

  • Ascension
  • BJC Health Care
  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Centura Health
  • Express Scripts
  • Families U.S.A.
    • Hospital Sisters Health System
    • The Johns Hopkins Health System Corporation
    • LEO Pharma
    • The Mayo Clinic
    • Mercy Health
    • National Health Law Project
    • National Rural Health Association
    • Presence Health
    • Saint Louis University School of Medicine
    • SSM Health
    • St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
    • Texas Children's Hospital
    • U.S. Attorneys' Offices
    • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
    • U.S. Department of Justice
    • U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

American Health Law Association Spotlights Center Faculty

In this video produced by AHLA as part of its fall 2020 campaign Health Law Disruption: 2030 and Beyond, Center Director Sidney D. Watson and Professors Rob Gatter, Ruqaiijah Yearby, Ana Santos Rutschman and Elizabeth Pendo discuss how SLU’s mission and advocacy-centered approach to learning prepares health lawyers for a more collaborative future.

Asha M. Natarajan, J.D., M.P.H., Class of 2012, Assistant United States Attorney, health care fraud , says,

"We had an entire class on the Stark Law and the Anti-Kickback Statute and learned why it makes health care business just so much more high risk. It was unbelievable to have that working knowledge going into practice."

Asha M. Natarajan, J.D., M.P.H., Class of 2012, Assistant United States Attorney, health care fraud

Asha M. Natarajan, J.D., M.P.H., Class of 2012, Assistant United States Attorney, health care fraud says, "We had an entire class on the Stark Law and the Anti-Kickback Statute and learned why it makes health care business just so much more high risk. It was unbelievable to have that working knowledge going into practice."

Asha M. Natarajan, J.D., M.P.H., Class of 2012, Assistant United States Attorney, health care fraud

Putting Your Education to work

Asha Natarajan landed one of her first jobs in part because the hiring partner specifically sought candidates from prestigious health law programs like SLU LAW's Center for Health Law Studies who could "hit the ground running."

Access to Renowned Scholars and Practitioners

Due in large part to the Center's strong national reputation, students are exposed to some of the best legal minds in the country through a variety of speakers and programs.

As part of its Distinguished Speaker Series, throughout the academic year the Center hosts several leading scholars and practitioners who shape health law and policy. Students attend the speakers’ lectures and then meet with them to discuss in small groups.

Every fall, together with the American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics, the Center hosts the annual Health Law Scholars Workshop, which allows faculty new to health law and bioethics scholarship to present works-in-progress and receive advice from experienced scholars.

The Practitioner-in-Residence program allows the Center to host a visiting health law attorney for several weeks each year. Students benefit from access to the practitioner through guest lectures, round table discussions, office hours and special events.

Finally, each spring, the Center hosts an annual Health Law Symposium featuring leading experts in the field, with topics focusing on groundbreaking issues in health law and policy.

James Callahan IV, J.D., Class of 2019, says,

“My big project was assisting in conducting a legal epidemiological study on the definition of telemedicine and telehealth in the United States.

Prior to this internship, I was interested in working as in-house counsel in a hospital, but after this experience I became interested in health policy or health care impact litigation, as well.”

James Callahan IV, J.D., Class of 2019

James Callahan IV, J.D., Class of 2019 says, “My big project was assisting in conducting a legal epidemiological study on the definition of telemedicine and telehealth in the United States. Prior to this internship, I was interested in working as in-house counsel in a hospital, but after this experience I became interested in health policy or health care impact litigation, as well.”

James Callahan IV, J.D., Class of 2019

Exploring New Horizons

James Callahan IV had always dreamed of working for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), but he thought that dream was over when he chose to go to law school instead of medical school. His experience as a health law concentration student paid off in Summer 2018 when he was hired there as a public health law intern.

In their words

Cutting-edge Faculty Research

In this video on urban research at SLU, Professor Ruqaiijah Yearby discusses her scholarship on racial disparities in health care.


Summer Law Program in madrid

SLU LAW's ABA-approved summer program offers six weeks of enriching, rewarding education in one of the most exciting, historical and culturally rich cities in the world. Learn more >

We’ve Got Unique Courses

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FDA Law and Policy

Explore legal and policy issues related to products regulated by the FDA. You will critically examine the regulatory framework for food, drugs, biologics, vaccines, medical devices and cosmetics, and consider the relationship between the regulatory framework and other laws, such as patent, antitrust and products liability.

Bioethics and the Law

Examine the ethical and legal issues related to areas of health care decision-making such as determination of death, organ transplantation, end-of-life care, genetics and more. You will be introduced to the leading approaches in analyzing the ethical issues involved, with a special emphasis on their influence in court cases and legislation.

Emerging Health Technologies: Innovation, Law and Policy

In this seminar you will first examine the role of tools including patents, market exclusivity, grants and prizes in spurring the production and dissemination of new technologies. You'll look at the roles of institutions supporting scientific research, like the NIH, Google and NASA. Finally, you'll explore discrete topics in biomedical innovation: the landscape surrounding the development of oncology drugs, gene therapies and precision medicine, and controversies surrounding drug price gouging, medical 3-D printing and more.

Disability Law

Enabling people with disabilities to participate in society is a new civil rights frontier, built on the achievements of prior movements while confronting both comparable and distinct dilemmas. In this course, you'll gain an in-depth study of current issues in disability law and policy, with emphasis on the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and its amendments that prohibit discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, education, housing, transportation and health care.

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