Meet Cornell’s EMBA/MS In Healthcare Leadership Class Of 2022

Cornell University SC Johnson School of Business


As part of the program, there is a healthcare leadership sequence — recently re-conceptualized by Dr. McGinty — that begins midway through the students’ first year. The sequence kicks off with the Healthcare Leadership course, followed by Healthcare, Innovation, and Transformation, and culminates with a capstone project. “A lot of students identify their capstone as being a remarkable opportunity to put their business and healthcare skills together,” Dean Nelson says. “That’s something they find rewarding. It’s a great opportunity to realize just how much they’ve learned.”

“Healthcare, Innovation, and Transformation opened my eyes to a different methodology of viewing decision-making in the healthcare arena,” says EMBA/MS in Healthcare Leadership student Kecia Gaither.

Christine Cortalano, director of education for the program, says that beyond the capstone project, there are a few other highlights of the program, such as the co-curricular programming. For example, the program features a learning table series where the school invites subject matter experts on class weekends to have discussions during lunch hour. The program also brings in panels of senior industry leaders to share their perspective on issues that are related to the evolving health care industry, as well as high-level speakers at events which are open to a wider audience.


Christine Cortalano

Cortalano says that it draws in clinicians and non-clinicians who are eager to take that next step in their career. “Students in this program are mid to senior level healthcare professionals who average seven to 15 years of work experience and represent stakeholders across the healthcare ecosystem,” she says.

The program seeks candidates from all areas of the healthcare industry, such as those from academic medical centers, community hospitals and health centers, insurance technology companies, startups, medical device companies, and pharmaceutical consulting.

“We’re looking for someone who can demonstrate their ability to really contribute to a collaborative learning environment and can add a unique perspective to the classroom discussion,” says Cortalano.


Nelson says that those who are interested in applying to the program should take opportunities to learn more. “Go to the campus for a class weekend and interact with students, alumni, or faculty,” he says. “We want to make sure that this program is a really good fit for people.”

Once prospective students have a better understanding of the program, he recommends that they work to overcome self-doubt and apply. “Many people look at the program and tell themselves that they won’t qualify,” he says.

He describes the application process as one-on-one and consultative. Once a candidate applies, the admissions team helps them understand whether or not the program is right for them.

“I think it’s important for prospective students to be aware that we understand the reality of the pandemic and how this may affect the day-to-day of our healthcare students specifically,” adds Cortalano.


Cortalano says that many alumni stay engaged by participating in lecture series, coming to networking events, returning as capstone advisors, or participating as executive mentors. In fact, staying engaged is Nelson and Cortalano’s number one advice for graduates of the program. “You’re in this program for a short time compared to your professional career, but you’re a Cornell alum for life. There are tremendous opportunities to continue engaging and learning. The more involved you are, the more you’re getting out of this experience.”

“Being a ‘Cornellian’ is an honor and a privilege,” adds student Kecia Gaither. “It opens doors in areas where no doors may exist.  There is very much a brotherhood and sisterhood within this institution.

Learn more about the educational and career journey about these EMBA/MS in Healthcare Leadership students who are creating impact. Click on the links below. 

EMBA/MS Student Hometown Undergrad Alma Mater Last Employer
Anand Ramaswamy New York City, NY Bharathiar University Hospital for Special Surgery
Franklin Chiao Westchester County, NY Brown University Westchester Medical Center Health Network
Kecia Gaither New York City, NY Barnard College NYC Health  + Hospitals
Laura M. Block New York City, NY Gettysburg College and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine Columbia University
Mahek A. Shah Houston, TX Rice University Harvard School of Public Health
Patrick Nessenthaler Dallas, TX University of North Texas Keystone Capital Group
Truc Phan Moyer  Sacramento, CA UC Santa Cruz Genentech


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