Joan and Irwin Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute Degree Closes Healthcare-Technology Gap

December 4, 2014
Kevin Hattori

The Joan and Irwin Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech announced today a two-year degree program that will reinvent the way health and healthcare are experienced and managed. The MS in Information Systems with a concentration in Healthier Life will create a synergy between healthcare professionals and technologists, and remove the existing barriers between research and application. Graduates of the program, slated to begin in the Fall of 2015, will receive dual degrees from the Technion-Israel institute of Technology and Cornell University.

To learn more, read the news release below or watch the video of the industrial panel discussion to launch the program here.

Industrial panel members during the launch of the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Technion-Cornell Innovation Institute MS in Information Systems with a concentration in Healthier Life program

Joan and Irwin Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute Program to Close Gap Between Healthcare and Tech
New Healthier Life program will rapidly accelerate innovation, reinventing the healthcare experience

NEW YORK CITY (December 4, 2014) – Together with leaders from the healthcare industry, the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech announced a new two-year Healthier Life degree program designed to catalyze synergy between healthcare professionals and technologists. The goal of the MS in Information Systems with a concentration in Healthier Life is to remove the barriers between research and application to reinvent the way we experience and manage health. Graduates of this program, which begins in the Fall of 2015, will receive dual degrees from Cornell University and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. The curriculum has been shaped by its founder, Professor Deborah Estrin, a pioneer in the field of small data and mobile health, along with input from industry leaders including Pfizer, UnitedHealth Group, WebMD, Weill Cornell Medical College and Wellcoin.

“The healthcare industry is one of the most complicated and complex to impact as an innovator and entrepreneur. There are large gaps in knowledge and experience base between healthcare professionals and technologists,” said Deborah Estrin, who also leads the Jacobs Institute’s broader Healthier Life “hub” focused on research and other academic initiatives. “Students in the Healthier Life program will learn how to design new technologies tailored for the context of healthcare.”

“Our mission at Cornell Tech is to bring together faculty, business leaders, entrepreneurs and students to pursue visionary ideas grounded in significant real-world needs, and the Healthier Life hub is a perfect example of this. Healthcare is one of the most complex industries to navigate – not just as an entrepreneur, but as a consumer. This new program will produce graduates who will be able to accelerate reform from within the industry, and produce groundbreaking new products that will help all of us live healthier lives,” said Dan Huttenlocher, Dean of Cornell Tech.

“Our healthcare industry partners will help us infuse real-world field experience and insight into the academic process, to inform and inspire students’ career trajectories,” said Adam Shwartz, Director of the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute. “Having the Technion as a partner adds substantial value to our program due to the Technion’s achievements in medicine and in the development of new technologies, and especially its considerable experience creating a startup ecosystem.”

Cornell Tech announced the new degree program during an industry panel discussion which included:

  • Deborah Estrin, Professor of Computer Science and Founder, Healthier Life Hub, Cornell Tech; and Professor of Public Health, Weill Cornell Medical College
  • Wendy Mayer, Vice President, Worldwide Innovation, Pfizer
  • Dr. Deneen Vojta, Senior Vice President, Business Initiatives and Clinical Affairs, Center for Health Reform & Modernization, UnitedHealth Group
  • Nicholas Altebrando, Vice President, Product Innovation, WebMD
  • Dr. Curtis Cole, Chief Information Officer, Weill Cornell Medical College
  • J.P. Pollak, Founder & Chief Technology Officer, Wellcoin; and Senior Researcher-in Residence, Cornell Tech

The panel examined the opportunities for Healthier Life graduates with integrated healthcare and technological skillsets to transform the industry. You can see video of the panel here:

“What excites us most about the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute’s new Healthier Life hub and degree program is that the potential to train the future leaders of healthcare – all the way up to the C-suite,” said Deneen Vojta. “This program offers these emerging leaders not only an intensive technical body of knowledge but also the skills and experiences in management, strategy and operations, they will need to lead healthcare organizations of the future – which will look very different than they do today.”

“Healthcare is in the midst of dramatic change, which makes it so important to take a fresh look at the skill-set required to navigate this dynamic landscape,” explained Nicholas Altebrando. “The focused approach that the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute is taking with the Healthier Life program will develop and empower the students of today to become the digital health leaders of tomorrow.”

“Innovation requires the blend of multiple perspectives,” added Wendy Mayer. “I think the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute’s Healthier Life hub will create the perfect mix of academics, entrepreneurs, and business experience to help address one of the biggest challenges we face – how to live a healthier life.”

Technology focus areas of the Healthier Life degree program include:

  • Mobile and wearable devices
  • Machine learning and advanced analytics
  • Privacy and security
  • User Interaction and social media

Students will have industry mentors and learn how to design new technologies tailored for the context of healthcare. Courses such as “Health Technology, Data and Systems”, “Medical Literacy” and the “Healthcare System and Economics” will inform students about the opportunities and constraints in this highly regulated and often complex field. Applications for the program are currently being accepted. The final program curriculum will be confirmed by the Cornell University Board of Trustees early this winter.

New York City is a natural birthplace for this program, as it sits in the intersection of healthcare, finance, insurance, consumer, and media industries. The phrase “Healthier Life” represents both the mission of the programs the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute sponsors, as well as the impact the hub hopes to have on New York City and the world, through health care and technology innovations and economic development.

The Joan and Irwin Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute
The Joan and Irwin Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute embodies the academic partnership between Cornell University and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology at Cornell Tech. The Institute gets its name from Qualcomm Founding Chairman Irwin Jacobs and his wife Joan Klein Jacobs who gave a $133 million gift to Cornell and the Technion in 2013. Adam Shwartz, Professor of Electrical Engineering at the Technion, is Director of the Institute. The Jacobs Institute is a home for experimentation at Cornell Tech. It’s a sandbox-like environment focused on solving problems based on societal needs and making an impact on the New York City economy. Instead of academic departments, the Institute has hubs that transcend disciplines and industries: Connective Media, Healthier Life and Built Environment.

Cornell Tech
Cornell Tech develops pioneering leaders and technologies for the digital age. Cornell Tech brings together faculty, business leaders, tech entrepreneurs, and students in a catalytic environment to produce visionary results grounded in significant needs that will reinvent the way we live in the digital age. Cornell Tech’s temporary campus has been up and running at Google’s Chelsea building since 2012, with a growing world-class faculty, and over 100 master’s and Ph.D. students who collaborate extensively with tech-oriented companies and organizations and pursue their own start-ups. Construction is underway on Cornell Tech’s campus on Roosevelt Island, with a first phase due to open in 2017. When fully completed, the campus will include 2 million square feet of state-of- the-art
buildings, over 2 acres of open space, and will be home to more than 2,000 graduate students and hundreds of faculty and staff.