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Sameena Aghi

Sameena Aghi

Senior VP of managed care | Illinois Primary Health Care Assn.

A love letter to the UI campus, from Sameena Aghi, who earned her bachelor’s in health administration and master’s of public health here:

“My dear Champaign-Urbana, if you aren’t symbolic of the word home in every sense of the word, then I don’t know what is.

“So many of us went on to graduate school or sought jobs in the area because we didn’t want to leave after undergrad. That’s the magic power that the University of Illinois has for so many students, transcending generations, no matter where they are from.

“To make everyone feel comfortable in their skin and free to achieve anything, where roles are simply roles and not labels. I don’t think any other city in Illinois has quite this ability but hopefully in the future, we’ll see similarities throughout our state.

“In my experience, the credit for both the optimal learning atmosphere and gift of lifelong knowledge belongs most to the university’s professors, teachers and mentors; educators have the most important job on earth. I spent the first half of college as a psychology major in LAS, the second half as a Health Administration major in AHS, and then another two years as a graduate student in Public Health so there are hundreds of professors from all across campus who I’d thank individually if I could.

“But the one professor who had the greatest impact on my life would be Robert F. Rich, director at the Institute of Government and Public Affairs. Is it possible for one class and one professor to dramatically alter the course of a person’s life? For me, it did.

“Law 620 is where I learned about the profound legal and policy issues raised by changes in health law and the U.S. delivery care system, and decided I wanted to pursue a career in state government, where I could offer solutions.

“Professor Rich was the strictest professor I’d ever had, but by graduate school I was prepared for that and felt privileged to have the opportunity to learn from him. The material and analytical skills taught in his Health Law class have been used daily in my career ever since.”