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Second-Year MHA Student Samantha Arledge Draws on Experience to Make Most of Opportunities

For second-year MHA student Samantha Arledge (MHA 2023) the smallest of opportunities can have the biggest ripple effect.

Arledge is making the best of her opportunities, while creating a few of her own along the way. In her first year in the Saint Louis University Master of Health Administration program she secured two internships and took on four leadership roles across the health administration landscape.

Samantha Arledge
Samantha Arledge, MHA '23

This summer, Arledge carried out a full-time internship at the St. Louis regional office of SSM Health working in the patient care space in a role that administers to eight SSM hospitals. The introduction to SSM stemmed from a few small conversations with second-year MHA students and bloomed into a career-altering opportunity.

Another opportunity came during Trinity’s PRISm Pitch Competition when she briefly mentioned how she was interested in the marketing side of healthcare. Opportunity came knocking when CAHME offered her a part-time internship on the communications and marketing side of the organization.

“It’s been an amazing opportunity to see both the education side combined with healthcare in professional roles because education plays into your future roles,” she said of the correlation between the two internships.

While leaning on the advice and knowledge of recent alumni to advance her career potential as a vehicle for progress in healthcare, Arledge has drawn on her own life experience to drive future change.

Her mother was diagnosed with and passed away from Stage 4 Breast Cancer just before Arledge’s senior year in high school. During this formative time in her life, she felt a calling to health administration as a way to directly impact patient care outcomes for others.

“As hard as that time in my life was, I think it was my most formative,” Arledge said. “I was given a new outlook on life of what drives me and what I want to accomplish for others. That drive has always been about people but now it’s about a different [way] of helping people.”

Arledge explained that reflecting on potential lack of access to resources, insurance, and the trickle down to future generations for anyone that faces similar health outcomes is what helps drive her to accomplish change for others.

SLU became the choice for Arledge because of the emphasis on addressing systemic issues like health care access and also the people at the university.

“Every single time I talked to anyone [at SLU] there was a sense of genuineness and authenticity,” she said. “I can reach out to alumni and say I am a SLU MHA student and they’ll respond back with their cell phone number…it’s a really unique opportunity.”

As a student at SLU, Arledge is involved in many leadership roles. She is the Executive Vice President for the Student Association of Health Management and Policy, is the Vice President of Finance for MEDLaunch, works in fundraising for the Health Research Center, and is actively writing a research paper with a physician-professor at the SLU School of Medicine on the use of Twitter in medical education.

She explained the importance of staying involved, investing in relationships with the people around you, and not being afraid to ask questions while “interpreting generously.”

“Your classmates are not just ‘classmates,’ they’re going to be future employers, you’re going to be a future employer,” she said. “Putting effort into those groups' projects and relationships is really going to set you up in the long run.”

College for Public Health and Social Justice

The Saint Louis University College for Public Health and Social Justice is the only academic unit of its kind, studying social, environmental and physical influences that together determine the health and well-being of people and communities. It also is the only accredited school or college of public health among nearly 250 Catholic institutions of higher education in the United States.

Guided by a mission of social justice and focus on finding innovative and collaborative solutions for complex health problems, the College offers nationally recognized programs in public health, social work, health administration, applied behavior analysis, and criminology and criminal justice.