Third-year health law student Aida Herenda spent the summer in Memphis, Tennessee, working as a legal intern in the Office of Legal Services at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Herenda, who plans to graduate from SLU LAW in 2019, reflects on the experience here.
What motivated you to seek a summer position at St. Jude?
I was excited to work as a legal intern with the Office of Legal Services at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital because of my bachelor’s degree in health management (SLU College for Public Health and Social Justice, '16) and because I am currently obtaining a health law concentration at SLU LAW. I felt incredibly equipped to handle a variety of health law issues after taking various courses at SLU and SLU LAW, and after interning with Legal Services of Eastern Missouri’s Advocates for Family Health Program last summer.
What were some of your job duties?
My job duties included legal research on health care regulations to ensure that hospital policies reflected changes in laws and regulations. I researched a variety of legal issues for different departments of the hospital, including some contract review and employment law matters. I was also given the opportunity to attend clinical briefings where each department gave updates about their latest events, as well as patient care meetings where legal issues about specific patients were discussed.
How did the experience help you grow as a future lawyer?
I learned a lot from my internship experience. I was able to witness how lawyers and other professionals interact to achieve the same goals and outcomes. Furthermore, I was able to witness how in-house counsel and outside counsel interact and work together. I also learned that every branch of an organization must interact with the legal department in some capacity.
Did this experience impact what you want to do with your J.D.?
This experience really confirmed my passion for health law, and I hope to continue my interaction with the health care industry as as I enter the practice of law.
How do you see this experience as tying into SLU's Jesuit, service-oriented mission?
St. Jude’s mission to advance cures and prevention for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and exceptional care to children, regardless of whether a family can afford to pay for services, really ties into SLU’s mission. This experience allowed me the opportunity to become part of a team where everyone worked diligently to put the patients and families first. The attorneys, doctors, nurses, staff and patients reminded me of their mission and ignited my desire to use my legal knowledge and training in the service of others.