ALUMNI PROFILE Mary Foley (MJ ’20)

Solid foundation

Mary Foley (MJ ’20) says Loyola’s health law program encourages specialization

When Mary Foley (MJ ’20) heard a Loyola compliance expert speak at a Health Care Compliance Association (HCCA) event, she had an epiphany. She was attending the Basic Compliance Academy as part of her onboarding to a new position as a hospital compliance officer, and she appreciated that the presentation included the how and the why behind every concept he put forth. “I wanted more of that,” Foley says.

Foley enrolled in Loyola’s Master of Jurisprudence (MJ) in Health Law program. The next time she attended an HCCA event—its annual Compliance Institute—she was on a student pass from Loyola.

Foley says one of the things she found most useful about her MJ program was hearing how students from different backgrounds—from nurses and doctors to hospital administrators and paralegals—approach topics and issues. “You get a rich array of perspectives that steers you away from right or wrong answers and shows you different approaches to problem solving,” she says.

“You’ll be given a very solid foundation in legal studies and a foot through a lot of different doors.”

That nuanced approach has served her well in her job as compliance officer, patient advocate, and assistant to the president at Chicago’s South Shore Hospital. “In resolving grievances, I can often avoid the fray of making a yes-no call and call out the positives and negatives of going in any direction,” she says.

Foley brings a richly diverse background to her work. A former English teacher in Argentina, where she also directed a call center’s quality and training, she’s been a job coach for young adults with learning and cognitive disabilities and is a longtime medical advocate and rape crisis counselor for Resilience (formerly Rape Victim Advocates) in Chicago.

“Studying language and teaching has really helped in the field of compliance because all the people interacting together in health care, from the CFO to the chief medical officer, speak different languages,” she says. “Making compliance information easily available to different stakeholders is similar to what you do in teaching.”

Foley’s Loyola professors encouraged her to continue the interest in social justice and service that connects her varied experiences. Foley’s MJ thesis, Illinois Workplace Violence Prevention Legislation: Protecting Workers without Criminalizing Patients, critiqued the trend in various states’ legislation toward pitting employee safety against patient safety.

Like Foley, every student in Loyola’s MJ in Health Law program has a unique background, interests, and talents—and a strength of the program, Foley says, is the space it gives students to specialize. “The curriculum is well curated to start everyone off with a shared understanding, then build wherever you want to,” she says.

“You won’t be handed a roadmap on what career to expect, but you’ll be given a very solid foundation in legal studies and a foot through a lot of different doors.”—Gail Mansfield (January 2022)


Through the Center for Compliance Studies, Loyola trains and educates compliance professionals to use legal expertise to help clients balance their need to be ethical and legal with their desire for growth and profitability. Both the online MJ and LLM programs are ideal for risk management and business professionals as well as lawyers who are hungry for greater opportunity. Let's get started