dextor2003

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Jun 21, 2010
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I apologize if this is the wrong place to ask this, but I was hoping to look for some advice.

Currently a 3rd year MD student. Interested in pediatrics at top schools, especially with global health/infectious disease concentrations. Unfortunately low step 1 of 220. Was initially unsure about getting an MPH, since I'm more so interested in patient care than research. Though I really would love to learn about and partake in medicine and patient care in 3rd world countries, I wasn't sure if that in itself is reason enough to pursue an MPH. But now with my low step 1, and deadlines for SOPHAS in a few months, I need to make a decision. So I guess my question is, given what I've mentioned, would pursuing an MPH at a top institution be a good idea and help my chances of getting a peds residency at top places?
 

Siverhideo1985

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Hard to predict how an MPH would affect your chances, it probably won't hurt them, though.

A stellar Step 2 score, taken early enough to send with your initial application or soon after is a much safer bet to improve your chances. Studying hard, bustin' your bee-hind for that test seems a less expensive way with a much more certain benefit margin.

I assume for the MPH you'd take an extra year? Or is it possible to finish med school on time and do the course work in between? If you take an extra year you should consider the real cost and lost income by delaying residency for a year - if you have loans (say the average $150k), that's interest (~11k at 7.9% interest rate) + cost of MPH + a year of lost potential income at the end - all together this could be a pricey MPH with questionable impact on your residency application strength and an even more uncertain impact on your overall career trajectory.

Spontaneously I'd say it probably isn't worth the (potentially marginal) benefit, especially since you seem a little ambivilant about what you would do with said MPH later in life (also note that if you specialize and do fellowship there are often opportunities to obtain an MPH during fellowship).
 
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I did a combined MD/MPH that required an extra year and was not funded. My recommendation would be, if you want an MPH, wait until residency / fellowship / attending. You can do it part time, it might be funded by your employer, and you're able to immediately start incorporating what you're learning into your practice. If you want to improve your application for big name places, I imagine a year of research would be far more meaningful to them
 

GoSpursGo

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Your 220 is fine for most peds programs and you should match at a solid place, but I think some of the "name brand" places are going to be a stretch regardless of whether you get the MPH or not.
 
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dextor2003

dextor2003

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Jun 21, 2010
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Thanks everyone for your feedback. It seems working harder this year to get good shelf grades and score much better on Step 2 may be more beneficial than the MPH. I understand a higher score is always better, but would anyone have an idea as to what type of Step 2 score may help mitigate the damage (if at all) from the low Step 1 for the top peds programs? Do I basically need to score 250+ at this point?
 

mvenus929

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My step 1 score was 219. I applied to 18ish programs, got at least 9 interviews (I think I actually got 10, went on 9), and matched at my #4 slot on my rank list. I got interviews from Duke, Phoenix Children's, Colorado Children's. One of my friends scored a 210 and is currently at UCSF.

Just make sure there is something else in your application to make you stand out, and don't fill your application with programs that won't consider you, and you'll be fine.