Michele Thornton

Associate Professor Healthcare Administration, MBA


249 Rich Hall

Office hours

Monday 10:30 am - 12:30 pm

By Appointment:


Michele Thornton attended Illinois Wesleyan University for her undergraduate studies in Psychology.  After that, Michele returned to her hometown of Chicago, IL to complete her M.B.A. in Health Sector Management at DePaul University in 2010.  Michele then went on to her doctoral studies at the University of Illinois in Chicago – School of Public Health in Health Policy and Administration.  She enjoys teaching both in person and online – classes ranging from Health Insurance & Employee Benefits, Health Economics, Health Policy and Public Health Administration. 

Before joining SUNY Oswego in 2017, Michele worked as a health insurance and employee benefits consultant, focused on the small business and individual sector.  In addition to continuing this work with small employers, Michele enjoys tackling independent health policy consulting & training engagements. Recent projects include: The Small Business Health Collaborative with Health & Disability Advocates; Developing and delivering the ACA Navigator Certification program for Get Covered Illinois; and an appointment to the National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU) National Legislative Council.


Dr. Thornton’s early research focused on the marketing, communication rollout, implementation and impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on health disparities, management, utilization and key health outcomes.  She has continued to expand that work into examining the role of health insurance brokers in the small employers, tracking patterns of medical and pharmaceutical tourism and most recently developing ethical decision-making frameworks for employers to employ during pandemics.


Thornton, M, Brosseau, L., Abraham, J., et al. (2020) “Using a Social Capital Framework to Explore Brokers’ Role in Small Employer Wellness Program Adoption, Implementation and Maintenance.” American Journal of Health Promotion.

Thornton, M., Leininger, L., Calhoun, E. (2019) An analysis of community-based health workforce training efficacy: evidence from the Affordable Care Act insurance navigators in Illinois.  Pedagogy in Health Promotion.

Thornton, M. (2019) United States Small Employers: A New Marketing Channel for Medical Tourism?. In: Kavoura A., Kefallonitis E., Giovanis A. (eds) Strategic Innovative Marketing and Tourism. Springer Proceedings in Business and Economics. Springer, Cham


Thornton, M. and Martin, M. (August 2020).“Consumer Health Wearables: Ethical strategies for organizational implementation.” Paper presented at the Academy of Management. (Vancouver, CA-Virtual).

Thornton, M., Martin, M. Howard, L. (July 2020) Attracting a geographically diverse patient base: Who is willing to cross-borders for hospital care? Paper presented at the International Public Policy and Management International. (Toronto, CA – Virtual).

Thornton, M. and Martin, M. (2019).“The Ethics of Consumer Health Wearables: Convergence of Bioethics and Value Sensitive Design.” Paper presented at the International Vincentian Business Ethics Conference, Dublin Ireland.

Thornton, M. (2019). “Gold Medal Healthcare.” Paper presented during virtual session at the International Conference on Strategic Marketing and Tourism.  Chios, Greece.

Thornton, M. (2018). “Come for Broadway, stay for bypass: Who is New York’s medical tourist? Paper presented at the International Conference on Strategic Marketing and Tourism. Athens, Greece.

Thornton, M. and Calhoun, E. (2018). “ACA Navigators: The impact of face to face enrollment support on racial disparities in uninsurance.” Paper presented at Academy Health. Chicago, IL

Thornton, M., Powell, L. and Calhoun, E. (2017). “ACA Health Insurance Navigators: Does face to face decision-support improve enrollment?” Paper presented at American Public Policy and Management. Chicago, IL.

Thornton, M., Felner J, and Hebert-Beirne, J. (2016). “Using Community Health Worker Typologies to Describe the Nature of Community-Based Health Work to Sustain a Culture of Coverage.” Paper Presented at American Public Health Association. Denver, CO.

Thornton, M., Powell, L. and Calhoun, E. (2015). “Illinois ACA Navigators Outreach in Minority Populations” Paper Presented at American Public Health Association. Chicago, IL.

Thornton, M., Powell, L. and Calhoun, E. (2015). ACA Navigators and the Use of Social Media in Outreach Campaigns.  Paper presented at Academy Health. Minneapolis, MN.

Thornton, M. Leininger, L and Calhoun, E. (2014). “Illinois navigator workforce: An analysis of training efficacy.” Paper presented at Academy Health. San Diego, CA.

Awards and honors

  • SUNY Oswego Accessibility Fellow & Coordinator (2019-2020)
  • SUNY Oswego Scholarly and Creative Activity Grant (2020)
  • SUNY Oswego Faculty-Student Challenge Grant (2018, 2020) 
  • SUNY Oswego Early Start Faculty Research Grant (2017)                
  • Viron L. Diefenbach Award for Excellence in Student Research (2016)
  • Best Abstract – Translation & Dissemination Interest Group (2015)
    Academy Health – Annual Research Meeting                                                              
  • Paul Q. Peterson Public Health Doctoral Scholar (2015)
  • Hamilton Research Scholarship in Health Policy (2015)


  • Psychology, B.A. - Illinois Wesleyan University
  • Business Administration: Health Sector Management, M.S. - DePaul University 
  • Health Policy & Administration, P.h.D - University of Illinois