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SLU Names Health Law Program as a “Center of Excellence”

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Jessica L. Ciccone
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ST. LOUIS, DECEMBER 12, 2022 -- Saint Louis University is pleased to announce that the Saint Louis University School of Law Center for Health Law Studies has been designated by the University as a “Center of Excellence.” SLU’s health law program has long been recognized as the nation’s best, having been ranked No. 1 by U.S. News and World Report for 16 of the last 18 years. The announcement comes as the Center for Health Law Studies celebrates its 40th anniversary.

“With this designation, SLU recognizes the unparalleled contributions that the health law program has made to the University’s research, education, and service missions for the last 40 years and commits to supporting the Center of Health Law Studies so it can reach new heights over the next 40 years,” said President Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D.

Health Law Scholars

Affiliated faculty and scholars from the Center for Health Law Studies gather at the annual Health Law Scholars weekend. SLU photo. 

SLU developed the Center of Excellence designation as part of its research growth plan, which calls for the University to make research a core part of its identity and to increase research output and eminence. Centers of Excellence are discrete programs through which SLU pursues selective excellence in carrying out its research mission.

“As a leader in its field, the health law program epitomizes what SLU seeks to acknowledge and promote through the Center of Excellence distinction,” said Ken Olliff, SLU’s Vice President of Research and Partnerships. “The Center for Health Law Studies exemplifies SLU’s pursuit of excellence as a preeminent Jesuit research university. So it is fitting that the health law program should receive this designation.”

“I could not be more pleased that the Center for Health Law Studies has received this recognition,” said William P. Johnson, dean of the School of Law. “The law school is proud to have a premiere health law program and to have shared in its many successes. With the University’s additional ongoing support, the Center is well positioned for the future.”

The Center for Health Law Studies is dedicated to promoting health equity through scholarship, teaching, and community service. More than 1,400 law school graduates have specialized in health law since the Center was founded in 1982. In addition to a concentration in health law, the program offers three dual degree programs combining a JD with a MHA, MPH in health policy, or a Ph.D. in healthcare ethics. Students in the program edit the Saint Louis University Journal of Health Law and Policy, compete as part of moot court and mock transactional teams, and gain experience through externships based not only in St. Louis, but also in Washington D.C.

“The Center for Health Law Studies provides a comprehensive learning experience for students who want to work in health law and policy,” said Amy Sanders, the Center’s Executive Director, “and it coordinates a broad curriculum, experiential opportunities, and a large network of practitioners, academics, and policy-makers for the benefit of our students.”

The Center’s faculty have been thought leaders in health law and policy for decades. Four members of the faculty have been named “Health Law Professor of the Year” by the American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics. Four Center faculty members have been or are authors of Health Law: Cases, Materials and Problems, now in its ninth edition and the nation’s leading health law text.

Additionally, for the last 20 years, the Center has helped launch new generations of health law scholars through its workshop for junior health law faculty, which, to date, has assisted more than 80 early-career scholars to develop and publish their research. Of the designation, Professor Rob Gatter, director of the Center, said, “With the Center of Excellence designation and the University’s support, the health law program can grow its faculty, expand its national influence, and better serve the Center’s mission of pursuing health equity through law.”

About Saint Louis University School of Law

Saint Louis University School of Law was founded in 1843 and is the oldest law school west of the Mississippi River. The strength of the faculty, breadth of course offerings and extensive clinical and professional skills experience provide students with a well-rounded legal education. The School of Law’s rich history consists of strong connections to the community and a long tradition of public service. SLU LAW’s location in the heart of downtown St. Louis offers students unparalleled access to leading law firms, courthouses, corporations, government agencies and nonprofit organizations — and a unique opportunity to see the law in action. For more information, visit