The heart of NYU Wagner's programs is our faculty. An amalgam of full-time, clinical/research/visiting, and adjunct professors, they are outstanding teachers, expert researchers and committed practitioners.
The health-care industry is vast and varied, but graduates of Wagner's Health Policy and Management program resoundingly express confidence in undertaking almost any job.
Wagner alumni enter important positions in hospital systems and managed care, health research and government agencies, consulting and community health. Moreover, many of them say the preparation at Wagner, the top-ranked health policy and management school according to U.S. News & World Report, has allowed them to navigate several different fields throughout their careers and ascend within their chosen organizations.
John Di Matteo, the Finance Manager for the Department of Pharmacy at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, used the training at Wagner to make a significant shift within health care world.
"Before Memorial Sloan-Kettering, I worked as a drug marketing executive in the for-profit sector," he said. "Wagner helped me transition to a financial position in a not-for-profit healthcare institution by focusing on the relevant skills."
Other alumni concurred that Wagner's distinct ingredients provide a recipe for career change and personal growth. The curriculum instructs students in marketable skills such as finance, statistics, and program implementation and analysis; it presents practical, everyday dilemmas in health care; and, as part of a school of public service, it discusses wider social issues that act as contributors to health status.
"When I started in the program, I had come from a clinical background, and I really didn't have any knowledge about anything related to management at all," said Peter Karow, who made a successful transition from being a physical therapist to managing health provider organizations after earning both a master's degree and a PhD at Wagner. He now serves as the Administrator of the Incarnation Children's Center, New York's only skilled nursing facility caring exclusively for children with HIV/AIDS.
"Wagner gives you broad training so it allows you to go into a great many things. "It gives you the confidence," he said.
Alumni said Wagner's health program is particularly strong in job preparation and job placement because of the Capstone program, the Residency option, the emphasis on teamwork throughout the curriculum, and the Office of Career Services.
"Wagner professors always emphasize the power of teamwork: Is there something more we can accomplish by working together, either within the same organization or collaborating with outside agencies?" said Michelle Newman Berney, who directs the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program's (RSVP) Advocacy, Counseling and Entitlement Services (ACES) project.
And employers recognize the difference Wagner makes.
Jessica Goldberg received her master's in health policy and management at Wagner in 1999 and serves as Assistant Director of Development and Affiliate Relations for Gilda's Club, a provider of emotional and social support for people living with cancer and their families.
"Anytime we look to hire a new person here at Gilda's Club, I always go straight to Wagner," she said. "We always find incredibly smart, savvy, team-oriented people there. In fact, in the last two years I've only hired Wagner interns and grads."
Wagner's Residency program, which provides health students with an opportunity to work in various aspects of the health industry, can also give graduates a leg up in their job searches upon leaving Wagner. The program, which is an optional supplement to the Wagner health curriculum, not only exposes students to various provider, advocacy and government settings, it allows them to interact with some of the top players in New York's health community.
These executives and officials, in turn, have lauded Wagner students after collaborating with them.
"On a variety of fronts, NYU Wagner has demonstrated itself to be a good leader in the field, and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has had the good fortune to collaborate with NYU Wagner on some key projects," said Thomas Frieden, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
Furthermore, Wagner health policy and management faculty members are prominent figures in the large New York health community, a factor which, along with the Capstone and Residency programs, contributes to a strong presence of Wagner graduates in a wide range of New York health organizations.
"I'm always running into graduates of your program," said Bruce Vladeck, a health industry leader now with Ernst & Young and formerly a professor of health policy and geriatrics and Mt. Sinai School of Medicine.
"They're not only everywhere in health care -- from the entry level to, increasingly, the most senior management -- but they're also invariably well-prepared, broadly-based in their thinking, and comfortable at maintaining the often difficult balance between the theoretical and the practical."