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The new Health Care Policy major is a “nice marriage of financial security and idealism,” according to Prof. Sean Nicholson, policy analysis and management.

September 5, 2018

New Health Care Policy Major Launching This Fall to Fulfill an ‘Important Niche’

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The brand-new health care policy major will begin accepting transfers this semester to fill an “important niche” of educating future health administrators.

The major, located within the College of Human Ecology in the Department of Policy Analysis and Management, will primarily recruit from the freshman and sophomore class. However, juniors and seniors will be accepted into the major if they can layout their plan to graduate on time.

Students can choose between two tracks, a “standard track” and a “science-intensive (pre-health) track,” and can switch between them to find the one that better suit their interests.

The major intends to be a “social science-based major that uses required and elective courses to build in-depth knowledge of health care and policy,” according to the official website of the HCP major.

The major differentiates itself from the PAM major in that it requires more natural science courses and less economics courses, but is also distinct from more biology-focused majors offered by the division of nutritional sciences, according to the major’s webpage.

Prof. Tom Evans, policy analysis and management, said one of the reasons the HCP major was created was because it seemed like “an attractive major” for students, as the new major gives students studying in the PAM department an opportunity to approach the discipline from a scientific angle.

The major also aims to prepare students for entering both the health care industry and the pharmaceutical industry — two growing sectors — according to its website.

In regards to the health care industry, the new major addresses the deficiency of administrative leaders with strong science backgrounds in healthcare by creating a curriculum that better prepares students for those administrative roles effectively.

“The HCP major prepares students whose strong training in natural sciences will make them better health care administrators and policy makers” in an “important niche that is poised to grow faster,” the introduction for the HCP major reads.

According to Prof. Nicolas Ziebarth, policy analysis and management, the new major will “combine policy with a strong foundation of natural sciences for students who may think about pre-med requirements but are not entirely certain about it.”

Evans said that the major will hopefully raise business leaders with scientific knowledge that can meet “halfway on their [healthcare industry] turf.”

“There are a lot of sectors within healthcare that would really value people who have a strong science background,” he said.

Prof. Sean Nicholson, policy analysis and management, director of the Cornell’s Sloan Program in Health Administration, elaborated that studying health care allows students to both earn gainful employment and do socially-impactful work.

“Something that a lot of Sloan students and a lot of Cornell undergrads like about health is they can get a secure job that pays well, but they can also feel really good about what they do on a daily basis,” Nicholson said.

Nicolson called the new HCP major a “nice marriage of financial security and idealism.”

In addition to the new requirements for the new major, students will have access to one and two-credit courses through the Sloan program that are “very specialized [and] … taught by industry practitioners,” Nicolson said.