MPH and how it will help me

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Sep 10, 2004
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I know this has probably been answered quite a bit, but I need to know.

I'm going to Touro in the fall, but they have a joint MPH program now. I am going to do 3rd world and underserved community health care, but I want to know how an MPH will benefit me in this case, and how it will not make me more aware of global situations, but also a better physician. Any help or advice would be great. Thanks.

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It can't hurt but I think the amount of benefit depends on what other experiences you already have under your belt. If for example, you were a Peace Corps volunteer or have lived in a developing country for several years an MPH might not be as useful since you have demonstrated experience working in the environment you want to practice in. If not, an MPH can help declare intent and demonstrate you are committed to international health. Personally I think the experience is probably more valuable than the degree but I think you'd need at least a year or two for it to have much weight. My disclaimer is that I was a Peace corps volunteer in Africa so perhaps I'm biased.
I agree with huruta that work experience in your field of interest will give you tools that an MPH simply cannot. However, depending on exactly what type of work you want to do, the MPH can compliment whatever work experience you have, and/or provide a solid foundation for the work you will do in the future.

For example, you said you want to work in developing countries. If you want to set up infrastructure or do health education, actually doing it through an established organization will probably be more satisfying for you than getting an MPH in International Health, let's say. However, if you want to run vaccine trials, systematically assess health care access in rural villages, or develop evidence-based policy for a country's health ministry, an MPH in Global/International Health, Epidemiology, or Health Policy could be very helpful.

Most MPH programs won't give you the "field" skills you'd get through work experience (though some programs do give you some of this through capstone projects, field experiences, and practice courses). They can, however, provide theoretical grounding, context, and project design, management, and analysis skills that work alone is unlikely to give you.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do!
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sorry for not being more clear with my intent. So the school I got accepted into is offering dual DO/MPH degree. But it starts in january. I want to do global health care, and have had the field experience going into different developing countries. I'm just curious about the "usefulness" I guess. I guess I just want what I learn to be helpful and beneficial in the long run.

the commute to take this and finish a huge chunk of this MPH will be a litte difficult, but whatever, if it is worth it, let's get it on. But if the practicality and usefulness is not seen, why bother. If in the end, it is about my physician skills that will help the people. I don't want to frustrate others with the lack of knowledge on the focus of the MPH, but I just want to get some feedback. thank you so much.
Depends on your goals and the MPH program. If it's a 1-year MPH intended to help physicians who will also deal with some public health things and you want to do epi research, then it will be a waste mostly. If it's a rigorous 2 year MPH program in hard-core epi and biostats and you just want a little familiarity with tropical medicine, then it will also be a waste. Look at what the program offers and how it matches with what you want to do. And of course, a solid background in the core areas of public health are very important as well, which is why I'm always questioning the 1-year MPH programs.