Healthcare + Business + Leadership = Strategic decision-makers who drive value and positive change.

The Master of Science in Healthcare Leadership offers a rigorous and accelerated curriculum that draws on the expertise of Brown University’s School of Public Health, Warren Alpert Medical School and the School of Professional Studies. 

You and your peers from across the industry will be immersed in a truly engaging learning environment that affords the opportunity for direct faculty interaction, collaboration with classmates and real-time application of content linked to your capstone project. 

Over the 12 months, you will not only partake in healthcare-specific business courses like finance and cost accounting, economics and analytics,  but also in personal leadership training — a feature that sets this program apart from others. Another unique component includes course content dedicated to AI and machine learning as well as digital health innovations, with curriculum drawn from Brown’s Digital Health Innovation Certificate.

Course Outline

mhl course outline by term with overlapping programs

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this program you will:

  • Lead Healthcare Transformation

    • Learn to drive strategic change to create flexible, responsive and sustainable organizations across the healthcare industry. 
  • Turn Insights to Action

    • Examine the conditions and limitations of healthcare systems around the world and confront the challenges of reformulating them; Interpret and use data for sound decision making; Promote outstanding healthcare for patients as well as financial health for organizations.
  • Impact Your Workplace

    • Through the Critical Challenge Project and coursework, identify healthcare challenges within your organization and tackle problems in real-time by applying the knowledge and skills learned throughout the program to develop viable solutions.
  • Adopt Multiple Perspectives 

    • Contribute significantly to peer-to-peer learning and collaborate with a unique, cross-industry cohort that offers diverse perspectives and challenges you to think systemically about healthcare. You’ll build an impressive network and make lifelong connections, professionally and personally. 
  • Be Equipped for the Future

    • Develop advanced leadership skills that take your clinical, corporate or public sector career to the next level and help attract and retain the healthcare workforce of the future.

The program’s content is incredibly practical. On day one, I was already using ideas and concepts that I learned in my healthcare policy and finance courses. As the program progressed, I started looking at the healthcare system through different disciplinary lenses.

Dr. Pedro F. Escobar-Rodriguez, Class of 2018 Director of Women’s Services at San Jorge Children’s Hospital in Puerto Rico

Course Descriptions

Examine the complex business of healthcare and advancing technologies while developing key leadership skills.

The Healthcare Policy traces the development of U.S. healthcare financing and policy, in order to gain a basic understanding of our medical care system and why it has taken the shape that it has today. Students will critically examine the cost, delivery and financing of health services and of public health in the U.S. and compare the U.S. with other countries. Understanding the evolution of our own healthcare system and some of the alternative models from peer countries should help participants understand more about their own roles in American healthcare, question health policy assumptions in the U.S., gain perspective on the nation’s pervasive health care inequities, and incorporate health policy into their thinking. 

Achieving “high performance” is key to creating and maintaining a flexible, responsive, innovative organization, capable of adapting to the constantly changing health care environment. In this course, you will discover how to build a high performance organization by applying the principles of the High Performance Framework of value creation. The framework includes strategic planning, process improvement, and resource and organizational alignment. You will consider how value creation varies in different health care segments, and how it works within your own organization. 

Healthcare leaders require critical marketing skills to help them guide the transformation of their organizations. In this course, you will develop several essential marketing skills, specifically in customer listening, segmentation & positioning, branding, pricing and social media. This course is specifically designed to discuss marketing in the healthcare context with a mix of examples from payers, providers, and the life science spaces. Students have the opportunity to apply the newly acquired knowledge to their personal CCP and consider how to apply these skills to their work experience in healthcare vis-a-vis other industries. Upon completion of this course, you will be able to leverage strategic marketing constructs and frameworks in daily healthcare leadership situations that will be critical for changing behaviors of different stakeholders within the healthcare environment.

In this course, students will explore the quality improvement drivers, principles, systems, and tools that help create a healthcare learning organization. Students will compare methods to construct environments of psychological safety and just culture. Students will compare the learning needs of healthcare organizations to those in other industries. The course builds upon  the Model for Improvement (Institute for Healthcare Improvement, et al) and focuses on leadership behaviors that lead to high reliability for quality outcomes and patient safety.

Healthcare Finance & Cost Accounting builds on fundamentals of financial accounting concepts and financial statement analysis tools to expand students’ competencies and skill sets for managing healthcare costs. Students acquire a financial analysis tool bag used by healthcare managers for taking the necessary corrective actions to improve financial viability and quality of care, both in the short and long term.

Leaders require critical skills to guide their organizations. In this course, you will explore several essential leadership capabilities, specifically negotiation, conflict management, collaboration, team building, ethical challenges, work-force development and Diversity/Equity/Inclusion (DEI). You will have the opportunity to assess your personal leadership styles and build a robust plan for your personal, on-going leadership development. 

Upon completion of this course, you will be able to dissect leadership theory and practice to maximize the potential for your leadership within your organization.  Ideally, this course should equip you with critical leadership skills for transforming the US healthcare system. 

This course provides a basic foundation in the methods and application of health economics; the concepts, topics, cases, and exercises are intended for healthcare leaders delivering care, paying for and producing healthcare goods and services, as well as those regulating, managing, and overseeing the delivery of healthcare. This course provides a high-level overview, understanding, and working knowledge of economic principles and methods applied in the healthcare sector.

Applications to real health care delivery and financing issues are emphasized throughout the course, with students gaining experience analyzing health policy decisions that arise from basic economic choices that must be made concerning the efficient and equitable production, allocation, and consumption of health care resources. Upon completion of this course, students will possess a technical understanding of the theory, principles, and methods of health economics  as well as the ability to understand, interpret, critically review, and determine the economic repercussions of alternative health policies. Finally, students will be prepared to undertake various types of economic evaluations of health-related projects, given real world constraints of time, data, and budget.   

This course explores the major legal frameworks that govern healthcare at the state and federal level with a focus on legal relationships among patients, providers, payers and institutions. Students will examine how the law regulates these relationships through legal concepts of informed consent and malpractice litigation, fraud and abuse restrictions related to in payment for health care services, devices and pharmaceuticals; and through antitrust laws to curb anti-competitive practices in health care consolidation. In addition to exploring the role of law in regulating the healthcare system, students will consider broader biomedical ethical issues and legal principles in the delivery of healthcare including abortion, experimental treatments, human subject research, end-of-life decision-making including refusal of treatment, physician assisted suicide, and organ donation. This course will connect these topics to practical executive skills related to negotiation, evaluation of risk and effective engagement of legal counsel at the leadership level.

This course will discuss how research methods, information technology, and data analytics are used to improve healthcare. It will cover standardization, integration, communication, and strategic planning for and governance of information systems. The course will illustrate how big data can contribute to understanding the underlying problems in our healthcare system, how analytics can solve strategic and operational issues, and how the principles and methods of epidemiologic investigations and biostatistics apply to the healthcare context.

The Leadership & Professional Development component of the Master in Healthcare Leadership is a critical piece of the student experience and spans the length of the program. In both residential and online settings, students will engage in discussions, reflections, lectures, simulations and experiential activities focused on their professional development as leaders. Students will be consistently challenged to apply the leadership theory and practice they are exploring in this half-credit course to their work environment. They will also have opportunities to establish professional development goals, receive coaching, and receive support from peers and faculty relative to those aspirations.

This course explores the many ways technology can make an impact on individual and population health. Together, we’ll explore several examples of successful (and some less than successful) digital health innovations from the last decade to identify the essential components for designing, testing, and deploying impactful digital solutions to challenging health problems. You will start thinking about digital innovations from more technical and design-centric perspectives. You will consider the impact of regulatory bodies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). You will also have an opportunity to hone your entrepreneurial judgment and practice putting your new technical and design knowledge into action.

You identify a critical challenge related to healthcare upon applying to the Master of Science in Healthcare Leadership (MHL) program. Throughout MHL, you will work collaboratively with a variety of people including your MHL peers, professional colleagues (within and outside your own organization), course faculty, and faculty advisors, integrating various perspectives across healthcare sectors to develop possible solutions to your challenge.

Throughout your independent study, you will draw upon knowledge and skills gained from your coursework with particular emphasis on collaborating across healthcare sectors, considering ethical implications, communicating effectively, and developing innovative, transformative, creative, and viable solutions.  In addition, you will think critically about your challenge throughout your coursework, leveraging course assignments to make progress on discrete components of your critical challenge project, including development of your strategic plan, business plan, and quality improvement plan. You will relate other assignments, as appropriate, to your CCP.

Upon completion of your individual project, you will successfully integrate knowledge of healthcare policy, strategic planning, regulation, management, marketing, healthcare research, quality improvement, finance, and information technology to address your critical challenges within healthcare. Project outcomes should apply to professional practice.

To undertake this project, you should:

  • Apply course content and leadership skills gained in the program
  • Interact with peers and others to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the healthcare industry
  • Consider the ethical implications of the challenge and potential solutions
  • Integrate the project with professional practice
  • Create a viable, sustainable, and transformative solution
  • Document, assess and evaluate efforts at implementation
  • Communicate the challenge and proposed solution effectively

Learning Objectives

Designed to emphasize Brown's signature value of student-driven engaged learning, the Critical Challenge Project ensures regular intersection between theory and practice. The Critical Challenge Project should:

  • Foster engagement with the program through the challenge
  • Facilitate the development of strategic insight relevant to professional aspirations
  • Enhance learning in a community of peers, faculty, and coaches
  • Encourage the application of new knowledge and skills
  • Provoke the development of a broader perspective on the challenge and related issues
  • Provide an opportunity to plan and implement an innovative solution