When the Sloan Program was founded in 1955, it became the nation’s first health care administration program with a two-year graduate curriculum. Since then, the CAHME-accredited Master of Health Administration program has been at the forefront of innovation in the field. 

It is driven by preeminent faculty, engaged alumni and bright students who want to leave their mark on a dynamic, vital and growing industry. 

The (MHA) degree curriculum will position you to become a future leader in health care because of the knowledge and skills you will develop in management, health care organization, policy and public health. You will be equipped to manage in a variety of settings — including hospitals, long-term care organizations, pharmaceutical companies and government agencies —with an emphasis on quality, access, efficiency and innovation. 

The curriculum combines rigorous coursework with a robust practical training component, including a required summer internship, a colloquium series that brings industry experts to campus, elective Practitioner-Led Intensive Courses (PLICs), an annual off-campus January intersession program, field trip immersion, workshops, a mentorship program and a second-year capstone project.

The Rich History of the Sloan Program in Health Administration 

In the early 1950s, then-Cornell President Dean Malott visited Alfred P. Sloan, former head of General Motors and philanthropist through the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Malott had visited Sloan to solicit his financial support for Cornell’s College of Engineering. 

According to Malott’s notes of the visit, Sloan said he hadn’t considered a donation to the engineering school, but was interested in improving the administration of hospitals. His interest stemmed in part from Sloan’s brother Raymond, who spent 20 years as director of the Modern Hospital in Chicago, was editor of its publication and was a pioneer in examining the role of hospital design and color on care. 

“You at Cornell have a hotel school, and a hospital is really a specialized kind of hotel,” Sloan said. “I’ve been thinking that hospital administrators should be better trained. At the time, hospital administrators typically pursued one year of coursework, and Sloan considered that insufficient, advocating instead for training aligned more with a business school model of management.  

As a result of the visit, the foundation ultimately decided in the mid-1950s to fund the development of a hospital administration program at Cornell. It was a new model for training hospital administrators and the first in the nation to follow a two-year management curriculum. Today, it is the dominant model for training health care executives.  

Sloan’s idea that hospitality, health care and design should be linked has long been a driving force behind the Sloan experience. The relationship between the School of Hotel Administration, design programs and Sloan has become more formalized recently through the multi-school Cornell Institute for Healthy Futures, which explores innovations across health, hospitality and design.