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Alumni Making an Impact: Ryan Chafe, J.D./M.H.A.

As a health care attorney for law firm Polsinelli, alumnus Ryan Chafe (JD 2015, MHA 2016) is making an impact. In this interview, he shares why he chose Saint Louis University for his J.D./M.H.A., what he enjoys about his career, and his thoughts on crucial health care topics to monitor over the next 10 years.

Ryan Chafe, JD/MHA
Ryan Chafe, JD/MHA, is an Associate Attorney at Polsinelli PC.

Why did you pursue a J.D./M.H.A. from Saint Louis University?

I chose to pursue a joint J.D./M.H.A. from SLU to gain a better understanding of the underlying business issues that health care entities deal with on a day-to-day basis. Attorneys are better positioned to counsel clients when they have an understanding of what drives the strategic decision-making, goal setting, and ultimate business purpose of the client.

Which course(s) at SLU were most beneficial to your career goals? 

My most helpful courses were the multiple finance and strategy courses I took during the M.H.A. program because the skills I picked up in those classes help me understand primary business issues that drive client decision-making. When I’m analyzing legal issues it’s essential to know how the legal question fits into the underlying business issues affecting a client.


Those that are able to quickly learn, analyze, and adapt to changes are the ones that will be the industry leaders of tomorrow.

-Ryan Chafe, JD/MHA


What do you enjoy most about your career?

My career gives me the opportunity to work with clients from across the health care industry. Whether it's large integrated health systems, solo-practitioners, or cutting-edge start-up companies, the variety of clients means my work is constantly changing and never boring.

What do you think will be a crucial topic or issue regarding health care over the next 10 years?

There are almost too many topics count  which is part of what makes health care careers so rewarding and fun for forward thinkers. That said I'm most excited to see how automation, technology and big data will impact health care moving forward. In the constant struggle to improve quality, reduce costs, and increase access to health care services, I think how we adjust to the rapidly changing digital world will be a crucial topic to monitor over the next 10 years.

If you had a motto or words to live by, as they relate to the evolving field of health care, what would it be?

As a word of advice to aspiring health care professionals I would simply say always be learning throughout your career. Your professional education doesn’t stop after graduation. The health care industry moves so fast it’s easy to let it pass you by. Those who are able to quickly learn, analyze and adapt to changes are the ones who will be the industry leaders of tomorrow.

About SLU's Department of Health Management and Policy

Established in 1947, the Department of Health Management and Policy at the Saint Louis University College for Public Health and Social Justice is among the oldest academic programs of its type. It is home to the Master of Health Administration, which was awarded Program of the Year by AUPHA, and is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education.

SLU’s M.H.A. program is ranked No. 13 by U.S. News & World Report and the Health Law program ranks No. 1 in the country. Click here to learn more about the M.H.A. program.