Admissions deadline extended to July 1, 2016

Position yourself as a leader in healthcare management.  The Executive Masters of Healthcare Management Programs (MHA / MPH) in the Department of Health Policy & Management at Columbia provide a unique interdisciplinary education across three areas of expertise: organizational leadership and management, health policy and public health, and health systems.  These cohort-based programs provide students with the management skills of a business school education, but do so in a context that emphasizes the unique nature of the healthcare system.  Students can select their degree of choice (MHA or MPH) after enrollment.

To learn more about the program, please visit or contact Marni Selman, Associate Director of Academic Programs, at

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Millennials Define Health Differently than Other Generations

Maria Tazi

Maria Tazi, a member of EMHM Cohort 25, recently published an article in Medical Marketing & Media about steps the healthcare system will need to take to win over this large group of 75.3 million individuals.  In this article, Maria identified six key demographic differences that providers need to understand about this segment:

  1. Millennials are time crunched
  2. Millennials question cost and value more
  3. Millennials think digitally
  4. Millennials crave connection
  5. Millennials seek validation
  6. Millennials want a system designed for them

Click here to read more of Maria’s insights into this topic:

Maria is an engagement manager at Prophet, and she is currently pursuing her MHA at Mailman.


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“Poverty, the Brain, and Mental Health”

Margaret Crotty

Margaret Crotty, a member of EMHM Cohort 25, was one of the panelists that addressed this topic at a recent symposium hosted at the American Museum of Natural History.  The symposium focused on the impact that stress has on brain development, particularly repeated exposure to stress through adverse childhood experiences [ACEs].  Other panelists included Dr. Mary Bassett, the New York City Health Commissioner; Virginia Rauh, professor of Population and Family Health at Columbia University Medical Center; Dr. Frances Champagne, associate professor of psychology at Columbia University; and Renée Wilson-Simmons, director of the National Center for Children in Poverty at the Mailman School

Margaret is the Executive Director of the Partnership with Children, a nonprofit in New York City that partners with New York public schools to provide counseling for children and families living with toxic stress, and she is pursuing her MPH at Mailman.

Click on the following link to read more about this important topic:


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Master Class with Meg FitzGerald, DrPh

Meg FitzGerald, EVP of Strategy and Policy for Cardinal Health, joined us for our Master Class on February 21st to share her thoughts on the new era of biopharma, how the concept of value-based care is impacting healthcare service models, and how that may impact the pharmaceutical industry in the future.

Meg’s academic and professional experiences contributed to her deep knowledge and expertise in this topic.  Meg received a bachelor of nursing from Fairfield University and then returned to the classroom to earn a master of public health from Columbia University.  She recently obtained a doctor of public health (DrPH) degree at New York Medical College, focusing on health policy.  Meg has a wide range of experience in the pharmaceutical industry with past positions at Merck, Sanofi-Synthelabo, and Pfizer before moving over to Medco Health Solutions and now Cardinal Health, where she started as president of Cardinal Health Specialty Solutions before assuming her current role.

After discussing her views on healthcare trends in 2020, Meg focused on the evolution from the fee-for-service model to value-based care, which shifts the risk from payer to provider and seeks to improve the value of the care delivered (improving healthcare outcomes without raising costs).  This shift is changing the reimbursement model and how / where healthcare is delivered.

Guest speaker Dr. John LaMattina, previous President of Pfizer Global Research and Development, led a spirited discussion on the pricing of pharmaceuticals.  We then broke into groups and simulated a negotiation between Memorial Sloan-Kettering, Merck and Aetna on creating a value-based pricing agreement for Keytruda, a new cancer drug.  Needless to say, there are winners and losers in this scenario!

Meg concluded her lecture with thoughts on leadership.  Everyone came away with new insights into biopharma, the impact of the shift to value-based care, and trends that we can expect over the next five years.

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EMPH Student Spotlight – Sharon (Mandler) Suchotliff



Sharon Mandler fell into the healthcare industry by accident. Attracted by the opportunity to try something new after years of marketing fashion and luxury brands, she accepted a position at Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness (SSW), a health and wellness marketing agency. There she discovered what has now become her life’s passion—using digital technologies to help people lead better, healthier lives. As the Vice President, Director of Engagement Strategy at SSW, Sharon works with not-for-profit organizations, biopharma, health-tech, and nutrition companies to create digital programs that help people understand their conditions, treatment options and paths, and stay on track with treatment plans.   Sharon enjoys connecting with and advising health-tech startups. She speaks at conferences on the topics of mobile health, health tech, gamification and the impact of social technologies on decisions. Sharon is pursuing an Executive MPH at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. She holds a B.S. in Public Relations from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University

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Challenges and Opportunities Facing Payors and Providers – Part II


Dr. John Rowe continued the lively discussion on the issues with healthcare systems forming their own health plans.  He noted that forming a health plan is very complicated and involves a deep knowledge of the domain, operational, financial and legal risk, a large amount of financial capital and a complex regulatory environment.  He discussed how each of these issues pose significant challenges to healthcare systems forming their own health plans.

Dr. Rowe also expressed concern about the impact of recent Salter Medical Group case on ACOs and expanding healthcare systems.  In Saltzer a federal judge in Idaho ruled that providers consolidating in pursuit of realizing the goals of healthcare reform are still subject to conventional antitrust restrictions.   Dr. Rowe also noted that some of the changes currently in the healthcare environment may not continue, such as the robust expansion of narrow network exchange plans, while other trends, such as the expansion of Medicaid will likely continue.  Dr. Rowe concluded by stating that healthcare pricing is indeed coming down and that the focus of the energy behind many of the current and future changes in healthcare will be with the providers.

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Challenges and Opportunities Facing Payors and Providers – Part I

Dr. Norman Peyson

The late morning session at the 2014 Mailman School of Public Health, Health Policy and Management Conference featured two veteran industry powerhouse speakers, Dr. Norman Payson and Dr. John Rowe.

Dr. Payson posed the question of can a hospital be economically and effectively be responsible for total healthcare costs and delivery of high quality care. He noted that from a hospital standpoint forming a health plan is both the right thing to do within the community and eliminates the middleman in the healthcare insurance market.  He noted that pricing is “played out” in the healthcare insurance market where healthcare insurance pricing can no longer rise at will, employers will be gearing towards paying a fixed amount for healthcare per employee, there is a more competitive insurance environment with the healthcare exchanges and healthcare costs are increasingly shifting to consumers.

Dr. Peyton noted that some of the challenges with hospitals setting up their own health plan involve lack of management, lack of understanding of healthcare pricing and creating internal rivalries within the organization itself.  The management in most hospital systems have little experience and understanding of the health plan insurance business.  Health systems establishing their own health plan create an internal rivalry dynamic where the health plan side of the business is focused on keeping people out of the hospitals and containing costs while the hospital side of the business is concerned with filling beds.

Options including partnering with healthcare insurance providers in forming and implementing your own system health plan. Another option is partnering with providers that have a large market share within your marketplace that can provide the patients to your healthcare system.   Dr. Payson noted that pricing health plans and paying providers in the plan are often areas where healthcare system leaders often are lacking in their knowledge and understanding.

An ending recommendation of Dr. Payson discussed was that a  healthcare system can beta testing doing their own health plan with their own employees to see if they can get it to viably work on a smaller scale.

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Dr. Laura Forese: The View From The Inside – Bigger, Faster, Smarter

Dr. Laura Forese, MD, MPH the President of the New York Presbyterian Healthcare System, and an alumni of the Columbia University EMPH program, delivered the keynote address today at the 2014 Mailman School of Public Health, Health Policy and Management Conference. She noted how the merger of the different hospitals within the New York Presbyterian Healthcare System was designed in such a way that pulling the system apart would be extremely difficult.  This was done to prevent the pitfalls that other failed healthcare system mergers  have had where different the entities did not get onboard with the establishment and integration of the new healthcare system.

Dr. Forese noted that it is hard for physicians today to practice independently in an integrated healthcare world and maintain good patient care while maintaining a high personal quality of life. There is a benefit for physicians working in larger groups both in terms of enhanced patient care, integration with healthcare systems, having more leverage with payor sources and vendors.

Dr. Forese discussed that for hospitals, the benefit of being in a larger healthcare system allows for more efficient uses of resources within the system including more sophisticated highly specialized and costly medical areas such as burn units. She mentioned that larger healthcare systems give hospitals the ability to serve their patients better and like larger physicians groups give them more leverage with payor sources and vendors. In New York she noted there are going to be five big players in the marketplace, New York Presbyterian, NYU, Northshore LIJ, Mount Sinai and Montefiore. Some of these healthcare systems will be entering into the insurance business. New York Presbyterian will not be going this route and will be focusing on the best in patient care.  Community hospitals in the New York area will continue to be merged and/or closely integrated with one of the five larger healthcare systems.

From a patient perspective Dr. Forese talked about the rise of consumerism. She noted that people are now paying more for their own healthcare and are becoming more saavy consumers. There is also a rise in convenient urgent care centers and night time pediatric centers as well as disruptive technologies with healthcare monitoring that is likely to change how healthcare is delivered to consumers.

Dr. Forese concluded that the changes in healthcare systems especially in the New York area will be rapidly occurring in the next few years as a reaction to the new healthcare environment that requires all providers to be bigger, faster and smarter.


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Some Top Healthcare Trends for 2014

2104 Trends

In the Columbia University EMPH program we constantly are learning about different trends in healthcare.  We have especially been discussing changes brought about as a result of the Affordable Care Act and how it will impact the structure of healthcare organizations, the access to, the delivery of and payment for care, compensation of healthcare providers and the increasing use of technology and data throughout the healthcare system.  I came across an interesting blog post here by Susan DeVore, president and CEO of Premier — a healthcare improvement alliance, that nicely summarizes many of the trends that we have been discussing in our classes.

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New Health Law Is Sending Many Back to School


One of the reasons so many of us have chosen to attend the Columbia Executive Masters in Public Health Program is that we realized just how important it is to keep our education and skills current and razor sharp in the rapidly changing world of healthcare.  The opportunities in healthcare today are tremendous but so are the challenges.  I came across an article from the New York Times that discusses the need for healthcare professionals to stay on top of their game.  You can find the article here.

There is no doubt that individual classes and certificate programs are useful for many professionals seeking continuing education.   However my experience at Columbia’s EMPH program has convinced me that if you are a seasoned professional that really wants to be on the cutting edge of the business and administration side of healthcare the EMPH program at Columbia is clearly the way to go for several reasons.  First the program is comprehensive and gives you a 360 view of the changing landscape of the new healthcare world.  Next, the classes are taught in person by national leaders in the healthcare industry who have an insiders perspective on the areas that they teach.   Third, you are part of a cohort of seasoned healthcare professionals that turn lectures into lively face-to-face discussions giving a variety of perspectives and demonstrating how the lessons learned in class are applied by your cohort members in actual on the ground situations that they are currently working on.  Lastly, the networking opportunities are tremendous both within the cohort and from the faculty and alumni base of the Mailman  School of Public Health.  All of this leads to a superb overall experience that not only keeps your knowledge base up to date but provides you with the tools and a degree to take advantage of the career opportunities that are flourishing in this changing healthcare environment.

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