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Health Policy [MPH, PhD] Question

Discussion in 'Public Health Degrees (Masters and Doctoral)' started by thepinkposner, Apr 18, 2004.

  1. thepinkposner

    thepinkposner Junior Member

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    I am a lawyer. I am not interested in attending Medical School. I am interested in obtaining a PhD or an MPH in Health Policy or Administration.

    I am looking at the New England school because I practice in the area. I haven't researched this much, yet. I haven't a clue as to how competitive the process is. I went to Duke undergrad and then to Syracuse Law. I have a decent UG record, I majored in history and an excellent law school record along with 4.5 years of practice at a major law firm. I have recently worked on some health law issues, and found the stuff amazing.

    I am looking at Harvard and Yale to start. I absolutely hate New Haven, and the Yale facility is the ugliest thing I have ever seen. What other schools should I look into?

    Also, how competitive is the process? Can someone please post numbers so I can have an idea. Any specific information on Harvard, Yale and other NE schools would help. How many applicants do these schools get, and how many do they take? Also, how competitive are the PhD programs? I am only interested in the Health Policy concentration.

    NYC schools are out because I will be paying my own way, and I'd like to avoid living in the City for obvious reasons.

    Thanks, in advance, for your help.
     
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  3. Heal&Teach

    Heal&Teach cogito ergo sum
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    Hi thepinkposner,

    So let me get this straight: you're looking for a MPH/PhD program in Health Policy/Administration, but want to stay in New England? Well, you've probably narrowed your choices down to either Dartmouth or Harvard (just from the top of my head). As far as program competitiveness is concerned, you have a JD, and a terminal degree is a major requirement for Harvard, so you've got one pin knocked down. I've never taken the LSAT, so I can't speak knowledgeably about this, but I'm pretty sure that you'd be okay in terms of your performance on the GRE (if you haven't yet taken it). Some schools may accept your LSAT (but don't quote me on that, esp. since those scores are a couple of years old). MPH programs in generally aren't ultra competitive, but I'm sure that this varies based on the school. Since Harvard is oriented toward giving professionals public health and/or other graduate training, I certainly couldn't see the process as something that you could not handle - definitely not comparative to what you experienced when applying and as a student in law school. At the same time, it is Harvard, so it wouldn't necessarily be a piece of cake either.

    I do not know a lot about the Dartmouth program except for the fact that was newly accredited in 2002, not a part of a school of public health, and is administered out of the medical school. I am not familiar with Dartmouth's other programs, but I think that there would be a significant advantage in going to Harvard and having access to the Kennedy School since you are interested in policy. I would thoroughly research each program. You can start by going back to the MPH forum's main page and searching through the Sticky thread "Public Health Websites". You might also want to try doing a search in this forum to see what information is floating around about these schools as well (there's a Dartmouth thread going on right now).

    Actually, have you looked into the Kennedy School's programs (http://www.ksg.harvard.edu/apply/)? Health Care Policy is one of their PACs (Policy Areas of Concentration). Scroll down to the bottom of this page, right above the "electives" section. http://www.ksg.harvard.edu/programs/mpp/mpp2/curriculum.htm It seems like this might be a better option for you, but you should make your decision based on the curricula and applicability to what you want to do with the degree in the future.

    Good luck in making your decision.

    Best,
    H&T
     
  4. thepinkposner

    thepinkposner Junior Member

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    Thanks, Heal.

    Actually, I am still deciding whether to do just an MPH or go after a PhD. Either way, the focus will be on Policy & Administration.

    I will look into Dartmouth. If someone here currently attends Harvard, Yale or Dartmouth, I'd really appreciate knowing your specs :laugh:

    I think I will be ok, I tend to do really well on standardized tests, and the GRE doesn't look that bad.

    Finally, what are the most popular MPH concentrations? Howcome more people are not interested in the Policy & Administration concentration? Is it the whole beefing up your resume for Med School deal, or is it just more beneficial for doctors to do other concentrations?
     
  5. Heal&Teach

    Heal&Teach cogito ergo sum
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    Well, I think to a certain extent, some disciplines are chosen on their possible rigor and appeal on medical school applications. For example, epidemiology is the basic science of public health, and people in these programs typically have to take courses in immunology, pathology, etc. Likewise, you typically have to take a toxicology course for the environmental health discipline. So, doing well in these programs would be beneficial.

    I personally chose Health Behavior/Health Education based on personal goals for my future career, and knew that the program wouldn't really be "appealing", if you will, in terms of being heavily science based. The only sciences involved were social and behavioral. I think that health policy is great! I'll tell you, it was truly one of the more challenging courses that I had in my graduate program. Not that you need a certain knack for policy, but I think that it can be compared somewhat to business in terms of people having a certain "sense" for it. I certainly don't have too much business senses either, but with hard work, it would eventually comes to me. I guess it's the same way for science now that I think about it.

    Bottom line is that people tend to do what's most familiar and comfortable to them. I'm sure that many Bio majors choose Epidemiology or Environmental Health/Industrial Hygiene or Nutrition, where as some social science types (whether psych or soc) will be drawn toward health behavior. Policy is really not something that many people come into contact with (I thought about taking a public policy course, but never did), and therefore, it may not be high priority unless they have a goal to incorporate policy into their future work.

    H&T
     

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