Skip to main content

Cornell University Cornell Brooks Public Policy


Your Sloan journey comes with your own guide. Every year, two experienced Sloan alumni are assigned to the incoming class to help prepare students over their two years for the job market. During their regular campus visits, the EIRs critique résumés, perform mock interviews, and help identify and secure internships and full-time positions customized to students’ unique career interests.

Sloan is honored to have another exceptional group of Doug Brown Executives-in-Residence for 2020-2021.

This year, we are pleased to add Ernie Bourassa, Valerie Lyon and Penny Mills. They join Patrick Wardell, who is continuing for his second year of the two-year term.

Ernest R. Bourassa, UnitedHealth Group, Vice President, Employer Solutions – Naviguard As Vice President, Employer Solutions – Naviguard, Ernie develops sales positioning and strategy for the Naviguard out of network program utilized by self-funded employer groups. Naviguard is a business that uses a proprietary reference-based pricing methodology for out of network claims, while providing member advocacy and support for members who are faced with balance billing from an out of network healthcare provider.

From 2004 – 2019, as Vice President, Network Solutions for UnitedHealthcare, Ernie worked collaboratively with UHC Client Development/Management, Underwriting, Actuarial, Network, and Marketing organizations to define and strengthen the United Healthcare network value provided to National Account employer customers. In this role, he was involved at the national level in network strategy, network value representation, and in the creation of innovative network solutions for large national employers.

From 1996 through 2004, as Executive Director, Empire Plan, Ernie was responsible for UHC’s network and provider contracting strategy that supports The State of New York’s Empire Plan. The Empire Plan is the health insurance program that covers more than 1,000,000 employees and dependents of the State of New York and its various subdivisions.

Ernie joined United Healthcare in December 1996 following 11 years with Prudential HealthCare. Ernie began his health care career in hospital administration in Massachusetts, and held a marketing position with Medical Information Technology, Inc. prior to joining Prudential. He holds a BA from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut and an MBA from Cornell University, where he majored in health care management.

Valerie Lyon, Sloan ’91, is the past Director of Business and Finance for Cornell Health. During her 20 year career at Cornell, her passion and interest has been focused on improving access to care for college students. She played a key role in securing approval and funding for a $55 million health care facility expansion and renovation project (scheduled for completion Summer 2017) which will house integrated health and counseling services. She was also involved in the transition for the funding (summer 2015) for Cornell Health to a pre-paid funding, equalizing access to care for all students regardless of income or insurance status. Val’s accomplishments for Cornell University include establishing the first self-funded student health benefits plan in the State of New York, which required enabling legislation. For a more detailed biography, please click on the following link: Valerie Lyon.

Penny S. Mills, MBA. Penny Mills recently retired from her position as the EVP/CEO of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), the leading professional society of physicians and clinicians involved in addiction prevention, treatment, research, education and public policy.

Penny has spent her entire career in health care including positions in consulting, health system administration and medical society management. Prior to ASAM, Penny was Vice President with Avalere Health, an advisory services firm that focuses on the intersection of health policy and business strategy. Before Avalere, Penny was Division Vice President of the American College of Cardiology (ACC), where she held senior positions for 15+ years. Penny’s background also includes consulting positions with the Lewin Group, American International Healthcare, and Arthur Young. She also managed the psychiatric and addiction services for a multi-hospital system in upstate New York.

Penny received a B.A. in Psychobiology from Oberlin College and an M.B.A. and Sloan Certificate in Health Services Administration from Cornell University.

Patrick Wardell, MBA. Patrick Wardell served for seven years as Chief Executive Officer of the Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA) and Commissioner of Public Health for the city of Cambridge, MA. Prior to joining CHA Mr. Wardell spent six years as President and Chief Executive Officer of Hurley Medical Center, the safety-net provider serving Flint, MI. In these roles he restored financial health, transitioned to an Accountable Care Organization, doubled primary care capacity, negotiated new affiliation agreements, integrated behavioral and primary health care and introduced LEAN management principles.

Mr. Wardell’s previous leadership roles include Regional Senior Vice President for St. Vincent Catholic Medical Center in NY,NY; President and Chief Executive Officer of St. Joseph’s Healthcare System in Paterson, NJ; Group Vice President Ambulatory and Network Management for the Montefiore Medical Center/The University Hospital for the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, NY

Mr. Wardell received his Bachelor of Science degree from Union College in Schenectady, NY and his MBA from Cornell University’s Graduate School of Business and Public Administration. Mr. Wardell’s career focus has been collaborating with safety-net populations to improve access to care. He has served on the boards of hospital associations in New Jersey, Michigan and Massachusetts.