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Discussion in 'Public Health Degrees (Masters and Doctoral)' started by simhawk, Jun 15, 2008.
Does having a MPH help to get into an MD or DO school at all? Even the slightest bit?
I haven't been able to find that in writing anywhere.
Based on speculation, I say that it will help in the slightest bit, key word being slightest. The most important factors remain undergraduate GPA and MCAT. The MPH is more of an accessory in your application and I would not recommend doing it unless you have a clear idea of where you will be and what you will do with an MPH if you don't get into medical school.
Wrestling with this topic myself, I think the benefit of earning a MPH in terms of making an individual competitive for medical school is very dependent on individual circumstances.
Medical schools are still going to place most emphasis on your performance in science courses (BCPM) and MCAT. MPH coursework will NOT replace science coursework. I happen to have a deficient record in science courses at the moment and I will be, subsequently, adding one or two non-SPH science courses to my normal MPH workload each quarter to build that aspect of my resume.
With that said, a MPH will not merely looked as a "nice addition" to your application, either. While science and MCAT performance are still a large part of the review process, more and more, schools of medicine are looking for well-rounded students with varying backgrounds and experiences. Additionally, public health is very "sexy" these days as it is being more and more accepted by the medical community.
A degree in public health provides you a skill set and perspective that many applicants WILL NOT have. Furthermore, the public health opportunities afforded to students such as international health excursions, community outreach to underserved populations, and research are things that medical schools LOVE. It provides students with medically-relative immersion that breaks the mold of traditional shadowing and volunteering practices.
What it comes down to is how well you sell it and what you do as a MPH candidate. The worst thing you could do is take the time and money to earn the degree without taking advantage of the opportunities available to you (opportunities that med schools know exist). A MPH can go a long way in helping a candidate separate themselves from the pack but it is essential to have all the core components squared away.
So, can it help? Absolutely.
Will it cover up other crucial deficiencies? Nope.
Can you give some examples of opportunities that are available?
Earning a MPH alone will not make you more competitive than someone coming out of undergrad with a higher GPA/MCAT, etc.
If you do not get into med school on your first try, enrolling in a MPH program is a way to stay close to medicine and demonstrate your continued interest in the field.
I would not, though, suggest wasting time on a MPH unless you have an interest in public health, or a subdiscipline thereof. If you plan on conducting clinical research (outcomes, policy, etc.), then MPH course would be beneficial.
As far as opportunities go, any good MPH program will set you up with a mentor. Through your mentor, you may be able to connect with clinicians and work with them on research projects. Publishing and presenting clinical abstracts will likely enhance your application much more that getting the letters (i.e. earning a MPH).
They really range and depend on your interests, program, mentors, and which school you attend.
-Research: publishing, presentations (a big one for med schools)
-Community outreach: free clinics, educational initiatives in underserved communities
-International work: anything from HIV/AIDS research in Africa, primary care development in Central/South America, disaster relief and preparedness work in Asia.
-Intervention Development in clinical settings
There is a TON you can do in public health that will give you hands-on experience that a lot of other avenues won't. I agree with the other poster, however, that the MPH is not something you want to pursue (time + money) if you don't have an interest in incorporating it into your life as a physician/practitioner.
This list, however, does no justice to what is available to you. You may need to be a bit assertive but there is a lot out there that will give you great experiences to prep for med.
I received my MPH in 2007 and will be entering medical school this fall. Whether or not it increases your chances of getting in to medical school definitely depend on what you do with your education. DO NOT go to school for something you are not genuinely interested in, you won't be happy.
If you choose a program that's heavy in science courses (enviromental, epidemiology, etc) and do well, it may show adcoms that you can do well in upper level science courses. If you don't take many science courses, it probably won't help much.
What helped me were the activities that I got involved with during grad school. I chose to become involved in activities that greatly stenghtened the extracurricula and research areas of my app. It also gave me something meaningful to talk about during interviews.
Great point. I am receiving my MPH in Community Health Science (Behavioral Science/Health Education) which is not a science-heavy specialty; at least, "science" in the terms of those medical schools will be interested in and those that will count towards my BCPM GPA.
To offset that, I am making an effort to take science courses outside of my MPH curriculum (which my programs allows; some are more flexible than others). Would it be easier to do a nutrition or epi tract? Sure; but I'm sticking with what interests me and what I want to use as a physician. My desire to attend medical school is strong enough to make the extra work worth it.