MLS Presents at Prestigious Conference on AI & Medicine
When Paul Vincent Tongsy ’19 selected the Master of Science in Legal Studies (MLS) program at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, he knew he would have the unique opportunity to take classes alongside JD students. Little did he know that, within a year, he would also be lecturing to them and others at Yale Law School.
Tongsy, a nurse, was recently selected to present his paper “Artificial Intelligence & Care: Robots in the Critical Care Setting” at the “AI & Robotics in Medicine” symposium in early November 2018 at Yale Law School. And he couldn’t be more thrilled.
“I hope it adds or influences healthcare policy in the future,” Tongsy says. “It might open more doors for me in a field or organization that combines healthcare and the law.”
Tongsy secured the coveted opportunity thanks to assistance form several Loyola faculty: Professors Karl Manheim, Professor Jeffrey Atik and Adjunct Professor Tracey Freed, who taught his Artificial Intelligence & the Law class; Reference Librarian Tiffani Willis, who helped him conform his paper to requirements of legal scholarship; and Associate Dean for Faculty and J. Rex Dibble Fellow Brietta R. Clark, who mined her connections in the healthcare law field to connect Tongsy with the Yale professor seeking papers.
“I am thoroughly blessed with a law school experience that is normally reserved for JD students or faculty,” says Tongsy.
A lifelong learned, an MLS degree was a natural next step for the president of the MLS student body. He chose Loyola to learn about the law and how it applies to his profession and the medical field. “I’ll still be a nurse, but a legalized one,” he quips.
Loyola’s MLS degree program allows working professionals to advance their careers through a customized legal education in a variety of subject areas without the time commitment and expense demanded for a JD degree. Tongsy is pursuing the Health Care Law Course of Study, which means he takes courses on health organizations, compliance, insurance and more, while also learning basic legal subjects. He is pursuing his degree while still working part-time as a hospital bedside nurse, and expects to graduate in May 2019 – a year and a half after beginning his studies.
Tongsy will be able to use his MLS degree to augment his nursing skills, or if he chooses, to move into teaching, health care compliance, administration or risk management. “I could really do anything that has a legal component and a nursing component,” he says.
Moving from a field like medicine to law could be daunting for many, but Tongsy says Loyola makes it easy.
“I find Loyola to be one of the most supportive environments to study in I’ve ever experienced — and I’ve been to a lot of schools. Administrators, faculty and staff all are approachable and helpful. The people at Loyola are willing to help you and guide you,” he says.
Even before he formally enrolled, Tongsy discovered that supportive approach from Assistant Director for Graduate Admissions Maura Boden and others in her office.
The dean in charge of the health law program, Associate Dean Clark, also goes the extra mile, according to Tongsy. Besides helping MLS health law students find the right classes, she helps them network with others in the health law field, he says. A founder of Loyola’s Health Law Alumni Chapter and advisor to the student Health Law & Bioethics Association, Clark also teaches health law classes that directly relate to his field of study.
In fact, Tongsy has found all his professors to be very approachable and open to questions. The faculty and other students in the MLS program also work in the real world, and that makes a big difference.
“There’s a passion for teaching at Loyola, so you as a student have a passion to learn,” Tongsy says. “You can also tailor the classes to your own needs, which means you can accelerate your career in the direction you choose.”