Interested in Public Health (many questions)

Discussion in 'Public Health Degrees (Masters and Doctoral)' started by tinylilron, Dec 22, 2008.

  1. tinylilron

    tinylilron Member
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    Hello everyone!

    I am new to this forum. I have completed my undergraduate B.S. degree in Biochemistry and Psychology in 2007 and I am currently doing research at the National Institute of Mental Health. Before it was my goal to go to medical school and I have been studying for the MCATs. I have always had an interest in public health, health disparities, and global health. I started to gain interest in a Ph.D. in public health and even more recently a DrPH. From my research I have come to understand that the Ph.D. in public health is more for people who want to go into academics and research while the DrPH is for people who want to become leaders in the public health field. I think I am interested in doing both. I know that for many of the DrPH programs they require you to have a MPH and some programs like Harvard School of Public Health require you to have both a MPH and a Ph.D. in order to get into the DrPH program.

    I am just curious with just the MPH program, what types of jobs are available with just an MPH? In addition, what sorts of financial aid are available, are their organizations that I can work for that would pay for my tuition for the school or can I do research at the school and take the necessary courses for free? Furthermore, how much better is it to get an MD/MPH? I am not so sure that I want to be a practicing physician as I know I want to be involved in health care policy, interventions, etc. However, I know it might be useful to have the skills to provide help when necessary. Does the MPH degree provide you with any medical skills or is there more that I can do to get certification to provide care if necessary?

    If anyone could answer my question and speak more about the different types of degrees and opportunities within the public health field, please do so.

    Thank you so much for all your help!!!

    VerĂ³nica
     
  2. thedelicatessen

    thedelicatessen In Memory of Riley Jane
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  3. boboca

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    If you're interested in global health, it helps to get your feet wet first, before you go to grad school. For instance, volunteer abroad or work with international health organizations. Many schools that have international health programs require you to have one or two years of work experience. Plus more experience will help you focus your goals.
     
  4. erikalindsay

    erikalindsay caffeinated
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    Some (most?) PhD (epidemiology) programs also require an MPH first, as well. The epi PhD program I want to get into requires an MPH for entrance (I graduate in May). I think an MPH is a great, relatively brief program that will prepare you for a career in public health. There are plenty of opportunities for jobs in public health. It is drilled in us over and over that the public health work force is aging. Even in my own state health agency, over 50% of the work force is expected to retire within the next 10 years. There are job opportunities for those with an MPH in local and state government (possibly federal but that's not something I'm familiar with), non-profits, hospitals, and with other organizations.

    Most schools will have TA/RA positions that may cover part of your tuition. Some fellowships and scholarships are available, but you have to apply early for most of those. My school doesn't have a ton of TA or RAships in public health but you can apply for TA/RAships in other programs throughout the school, but it really depends on the major you choose (epi, environmental health, maternal and child health, etc.). I think maybe 1 in 3 or 4 people in my school has a TA or RAship.

    It doesn't sound like an MD would be necessary for what you want to do. Most people in public health do not provide direct care, unless they are nurses (some people have opportunities to help with direct care when they are studying abroad, but that is not the reason they are going to study abroad...it's usually a research project or something like that). Most of us sit behind desks or are out in the community helping to train people and design and implement the programs and other staff actually provide the programs. I have 2 jobs in my field (maternal and child health), yet the only child I ever see is my own. ;)

    I think your NIMH work will help you in applications, but I would suggest getting some global health experience before applying if that's something you're interested in. My school doesn't have a global health major, but it is offered as a concentration.
     
  5. DrJosephKim

    DrJosephKim Advisor
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    The types of opportunities for someone with an MPH are endless. Do you enjoy writing? Government work? Do you want to work in a public health center? How about bridging some of gaps related to healthcare disparities?
     
  6. danicak

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    Any suggestions for international health organizations that take on recent graduates?

    I've been looking, but I feel like many positions are asking for a Master's degree as a requisite.

    Another obstacle I've come across is my Canadian citizenship- a lot of the American organizations don't seem open to sponsoring work visas, etc.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  7. boboca

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    If you don't mind volunteering check out CUSO (the canadian version of peace corps) or Volunteers in Asia (VIA) www.viaprograms.org You can volunteer at health NGOs in Indonesia. Or try other aid agencies, OXFAM, Save the Children, etc.
     

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