Sloan Program Cultivates Leaders in Health Care: The College of Human Ecology's Sloan Program in Health Administration Educates Leaders for an Industry as Complex as It Is Idiosyncratic

By Stone, Carole | Human Ecology, May 2006 | Go to article overview

Sloan Program Cultivates Leaders in Health Care: The College of Human Ecology's Sloan Program in Health Administration Educates Leaders for an Industry as Complex as It Is Idiosyncratic


Stone, Carole, Human Ecology


Why do students choose the Sloan Program in Health Administration? "They think of health care as a meaningful way to make a living," says Will White, director of the Sloan Program and professor of Policy Analysis and Management. "Health care is certainly not the highest paying industry. The students who choose it are drawn to an industry that takes care of people and makes a difference."

Students in this two-year professional degree program learn administrative skills; familiarity with the organization of the health care system and public policy issues; the tools of public health; the finesse to work with doctors, nurses, and others; and, sometimes, the entrepreneurial wherewithal to innovate and improve the performance of the current health care system.

"Promoting quality, access, efficiency, and innovation in every aspect of health care delivery and financing is the overall goal of the program," says Brooke Hollis, executive director of the program and a 1978 Sloan graduate. "Almost 50 percent of Sloan Program graduates work for organizations that deliver health care, notably but not exclusively hospitals," he says. "The rest are spread over many different categories both domestically and internationally."

The Sloan Program's Master of Health Administration degree (M.H.A.) is a specialized management degree that focuses on the health industry but is broad enough to allow students to follow a variety of career paths. The program's core courses include health care organization, accounting, marketing, leadership, financial management, and ethics, and such subjects as epidemiology and regression analysis and managerial forecasting.

Sloan Program alumni work in a wide range of health-related careers, including hospitals and health networks, management consulting, long-term care, ambulatory services, pharmaceuticals, insurance/finance, government, academia, and professional organizations.

A few examples of Sloan Program graduates include:

Nancy Schlichting, a 1979 graduate and recently named to Modern Health Care's 100 Most Powerful People in Health Care, is chief executive officer of the Henry Ford Health System, which ranks among the nation's top integrated health systems. "My Cornell education has served me very well during my entire health care career," Schlichting says. "I learned the fundamentals of leadership and the importance of public policy."

Amit Mody, M.D., a 1994 graduate, is EVP/chief operating officer of St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford, Conn., which holds the unusual distinction of being a "Top 100 Hospital" in three different categories. "The Sloan Program gave me a solid foundation in hospital management principles and it taught me how, when, and of whom to ask pertinent critical questions," Mody says. "It also provided an alumni network for entry into the market during the early part of my career, people to call to help solve problems along the way, and now, for recruitment to build future teams."

Dan Hoffmann, a 1979 graduate and former secretary of health for Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge (and the first nonphysician to be appointed to that position), heads a large region for the Veterans Administration Health System. "My study of management principles at Sloan has served me well in guiding the operations of eight hospitals and 10 outpatient facilities as director of the VA Mid-Atlantic Health Care Network," Hoffmann says. "Our service area covers some 8,500 square miles across Virginia, North Carolina, and West Virginia. Our focus here on measurable performance indicators provides me with the data needed to manage our array of resources in a manner that results in 'gold standard' health care for the veterans we so proudly serve."

Alumni entrepreneurs include Bernie Kershner '64, who was a pioneer in the development of freestanding ambulatory surgery centers. He built and sold two substantial companies in the field and was the first nonphysician to head the professional association for ambulatory surgery programs. …

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