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SUNY Cortland adds new major in health-care management

By Eric Reinhardt

Date:

CORTLAND, N.Y. — SUNY Cortland this fall plans to offer a bachelor’s degree in health-care management for students interested in working in the business side of health care.

SUNY Cortland contends it is adding a “high-demand major that officially links the College’s strong reputations in business economics and public health,” according to a news release.

For current students, the degree provides “foundational” training for roles that include finance, human resources or business management in settings that include hospitals, nursing homes, clinics and larger health-care systems.

“While the name of the major is new, it’s important to remember that the training is built upon the excellent work that we as a college have been doing for a long time,” Bonni Hodges, SUNY distinguished service professor and chair of SUNY Cortland’s health department, contended. “Our offerings have been retooled and reimagined to make a more relevant degree program for the 21st century.”

Hodges and Professor Kathleen Burke, chair of the school’s economics department, “worked closely” over the past several years to shape the new program. SUNY Cortland’s economics and health departments will share the cross-disciplinary major, which requires 120 credits and replaces the health-care administration and planning concentration that previously existed within its community health major.

“We wanted to make sure that we followed the right process in determining the courses that are most important for an entry-level person to have,” Hodges said. “The course requirements are pretty even across both departments, with an updated combination of economics and management courses that fit well together.”

Barbara Barton, an assistant professor of health and a registered nurse with health-care management experience, will serve as program coordinator for the new major. Two new full-time faculty positions created for the major included a health economist in the economics department and a health-care management expert in the health department, the school said.

“Significant findings”

Three “significant findings inspired” SUNY Cortland to create the new major.

First, the health-care administration and planning concentration within the community-health major had a “steady increase” in enrolled students over the past eight years. Second, the university said that new graduates are working in settings that include hospitals; physicians’ offices; outpatient-care centers; rehabilitation facilities; and home health-care service agencies.

And third, several projections suggest “significant career growth” over the next decade. The projected growth rate for health-services managers by 2024 is 17 percent nationally and 12.5 percent in New York, SUNY Cortland said. The school also cited data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicating an average annual salary of $128,470 for hospital-administrators statewide.

All health-care management majors will be required to have a full-time, semester-long fieldwork experience. In the past, SUNY Cortland students have worked closer to campus with Cortland Regional Medical Center and SUNY Upstate Medical University or further away at Northwell Health and Stony Brook University Hospital on Long Island, the school said.

Contact Reinhardt at ereinhardt@cnybj.com