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pathology and mph

Discussion in 'Pathology' started by pathomatic, Mar 2, 2007.

  1. pathomatic

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    hey guys

    some programs offer residents the opportunity to pursue MPH training during the residency. I was wondering if anyone had any opinions about this:confused:

    Also, what are future opportunities for a pathologist with MPH degree and would he/she predominantly end up doing administrative work, basically I have no idea what a pathologist with MPH does? Come to think of it, I am not even sure what people with MPH degrees do:confused: I mean, roughly i do, but I would really appreciate additional input/information.

    waiting to be enlightened:idea:
     
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  3. yaah

    yaah Boring
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    I have heard of people using it in combination with a blood bank fellowship, basically to do some public health/blood banking work.

    I doubt it will increase your salary much, and therefore would be worthless. ;)

    In all seriousness though, if you have a reason to do it you should, but that reason should be real. An extra degree isn't really going to give you anything unless you have plans to use it.
     
  4. path15

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    MPH degrees can be totally usless or totally helpful depending on what a person does with it -
    I agree with Yaah that the degree is not going to boost your salary, so I don't recommend getting one if you have to pay for it -
    But, it can definitely help with research and open potential doors in the future for administration/public health work that otherwise might be closed -
     
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  5. sequela

    sequela Junior Member

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    i've always thought of the md/mph as 2 groups:

    1. people who got an mph to help their application be more competitive for medical school admission...or to kill time until they got into med school.

    2. people in med school who want to slow things down a bit to smell the roses, kill time for other personal reasons or think some more about what specialty to pursue or to increase their competitive edge for certain specialties (surgical specialties like ortho actually have some use for this in the form of outcomes research).

    in all, i don't know anyone in these two groups who actually uses their mph.
    i am yet to meet someone who actually practices medicine (ie clinical duites) and uses their mph for what it's worth....and again, i'm not exactly sure what it's worth.

    oh wait, grp number 3:

    i have met mds who dislike clinical medicine enough that they have gone the mph route after residency (or x number yrs in practice) and do mostly outcomes research, preventitive med analyses and quality improvement type stuff. but again, my impression is that this is an escape route from clinical medicine, patients and its bs. very popular amongst family practice, im (nonspecialized) and psych folks at my school.


    i would think that an mph could be used in pathology, especially cp, but i don't actually know anyone who does this and i would imagine that these folks fall into group 3...in other words, they may not want to practice pathology. maybe they need to kill time or want to take it easy for a bit. i don't know. but if youi have to do 1-2 yrs of fellowship, it becomes somewhat silly to take this route.

    i'm not really a fan of all this over-education bs as a means to escape the inevitable: you have to get a job which if you end up disiking (this can happen, even to the best of folks), you have to do anyway.
     
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  6. Circumflex

    Circumflex Junior Member

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    Sometimes "over-education" gives you more options. At my school, the MPH was integrated/done at night - no extra time taken. The MPH is such a flexible degree that you can tailor your classes to meet your needs. If you want to run clinical trials, you get the epidemiology and biostats classes that teach you how to design trials and analyze the data. Or, you can concentrate on health management. I can't imagine that it would add to a salary, but it can provide structured learning for some things that you don't learn in med school.
     
  7. 1Path

    1Path Banned
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    I worked with a pathologist on the STAR clinical trial who had an MPH in Cancer Epidemiology. She did VERY little clinical work outside her research interests in breast cancer and her background in both cancer epidemiology and pathology seemed very well intergrated.
     
  8. edmacmahon

    edmacmahon Guest

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    Hi pathomatic!
    This is an interesting question you raise...I am interested in this myself and can also give you my 2 cents...I think that the replies here are pretty much dead on. As far as I can tell, an MPH really does tie in the best with specialties that are more CP-oriented, epecially with a research bent. Otherwise, it absolutely helps in the more general sense of augmenting the little epi/biostats/study design that you may have had in med school.

    Someone mentioned that folks get the MPH to stop and smell the roses, decide exactly what they want to do, etc. This is actually why I got mine, and it was a fun and worthwhile degree to pursue in my opinion (being in the bay area helped too!) Since I did it before med school, it really has helped to delineate what I eventually want to focus on. If they pay for you to get the degree, I say why not? It really is easy, and for some reason, people seem to be impressed with it (Although I have no idea if that would carry on throughout residency, it was a great help to me at my res interviews however).

    This is my own specific thing, but I did my MPH in Infectious Diseases, am very CP-oriented, and hope to do a micro fellowship, maybe a molecular one also, with the hopes of being some kind of micro lab director guru somewhere eventually. I think focusing on epidemiology would be helpful for anything, but of course I am biased. Also, if you have any interest in public health at all, I have noticed that a lot of Drs. take postions at state health departments to augment their salary, maybe help with the mortgage, and feeding the kids (bay area agian :scared:). They spend maybe 70% clinical work, 30% lab directorship time. Of course you could do this with an MD, but an MPH wouldn't hurt.

    Of course, extra school is extra school :eek:, but I really do think this is probably the easiest possible extra school there is :laugh:...If my crabby OB resident friends can do an MPH during fellowship, I'm sure it wouldn't be a problem for a well-adjusted path resident!
     
  9. pathomatic

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    hi edmacmahon

    thanks for the input. so, these pathologists have positions in the state health dept. while they are employed in another hospital? how does that work out (do they have consultant positions)?

    Also, to be honest, my question was posted out of more general curiosity than a specific interest in say micro. But one component of mph I am seriously interested in, is the clinical trial designing part. I am interested in a hemepath fellowship and obviously, as someone mentioned before, its an active area for molecular targets and drug trials.

    Now the million dollar question, to what extent would a pathologist have a say in the design of clinical trials while you have heme-onc clinicians around. A partial answer to my own question is that in this era of pharmacogenomics, Would the drug companies actually consider doing e.g. SNP profiling or micro-RNA profiling of their patient group and control group before they include them in the trials. If they do that, then obviously you would need say a molecular pathologist to interpret the findings, and try to collate it with other factors like morphological staging, flow findings, bcr-abl, other oncogene status etc. etc. Now in my humble opinion, a pathologist armed with this information (and of course, with MPH degree) could give some serious suggestions while designing clinical trials. OR maybe, you are required to just pass on this information to the heme-onc guy who draws his own interpretations and of course, gets all the credit. well, to be honest, i just don't how it works in the real world:confused:
     
  10. path15

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    Hi Pathomatic -
    I think its safe to say that depending on where you are and who you are working with, the pathologists role in clinical trials can be very limited (like just reading slides; interpreting tests and handing the infomation over to the person running the trial) or it can much more involved (like designing the study, implementing it, etc.). If you work at an institution where the hematologists have a good relationship with the hemepaths then no doubt you could work together from start to finish - who gets credit? who's name comes first on the paper, etc? Not sure - Also, there would be nothing stopping you from designing your own study, getting IRB approval, and then approaching hematologists to act as constultants.

    I don't know of any pathologists who work at state health departments and hospitals at the same time- state health departments for the most part have limited budgets - Physicians can complete residency training in public health and I think it is more likely that these folks would end up working full time for health departments.
    Also, physicians can complete training at the CDC - the Epidemic intelligence service- training program- (mostly epidemiology) and then work full time at health departments.
     
  11. PathOne

    PathOne Derminatrix

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    MPH is mostly for public health or epidemiology types. Sure, it can give you some valuable biostat and trial design skillz, and would probably be pretty useful for somebody wanting to specialize in cancer epidemiology. However, I personally know only one path/MPH (doing exactly that), and generally, I think there's very little practical overlap between the two fields. As regards clinical trial design, that's usually an area for the clinical folks.
     
  12. path15

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    I think its important to point out that epidemiology can be applied in many areas of path - not just cancer epi. Infectious dis epi (applicable to both micro and blood banking), chronic disease epi (applicable to surgical path diagnosed conditions and clinical path lab diagnosed conditions) -etc.
    To conduct epi research you need access to data, and, pathologists either through clinical labs or surgical path diagnoses have access to alot of data.

    Public health (not just epidemiology) can also apply to many different areas of pathology - medical examiners could get involved with bioterrorism response (a huge are of public health); Surgical pathologists/clinical pathologists could get involved with preventive medicine (i.e should PSA be offered to all men? What's the laboratory cost? What's the cost of the subsequent prostate biopsy - What should be done with prostate biopsies that show no abnormalities? repeat biopsy? How often? Etc.

    A variety of people can do this type of research - urologists, Preventive medicine physcians, public health workers, insurance companies, pathologists, etc -so it all depends on what you want to do.
     
  13. PathOne

    PathOne Derminatrix

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    Very true. :thumbup:
    Actually, pathologists are sitting on top of a huge mountain of hard data and tissue, which could be much better utilized. Just hear the molecular people, when they're screaming for tissue.
    Problem is, that most pathologists are so busy sitting at their scopes, that a lot really don't have time to dive into the vast treasure trove they're sitting on top of. But it's certainly there, ready to be examined.
     
  14. medsight

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    I have read this thread and would like to revive this topic. Is there any current path resident, fellow, or attending who has a background in public health? How have you used it/applied it to pathology? How could a medical student use an MPH as a selling point during their residency application process? Thank you.
     
  15. Patho2009

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    A friend of mine did it. We were both residents in the same program and he registered for the MPH degree in the university where our residency programis affiliated with.

    He used to go to the evening classes. He split it over more than a year, so that it didn't interfer with his residency.


    We both graudated from the residency and the only difference is that he has MPH in his title. He ended up going to practice in a small community based hospital.

    I think he did a good accomplishment and he managed to make use of the free time we had in the residency.

    However, in my personal view, it doesn't help much in the practice. Focusing on passing the boards (primary certification) as well as a subpecialty certification worth much more than having MPH.
     
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  17. 2121115

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    If you do an MPH and focus on stats it can be a gold mine even just doing simple clinical/translational research projects within the department. Statisticians don't grow on trees, especially ones that will turn things around quickly. If you want to get your name on a lot of papers quickly, make it known around the department that you can do stats for people's papers in exchange for getting your name on it and suddenly you'll be a popular guy with a loaded CV.
     
  18. Cloaca

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    Several of our residents have taken a year off to do MPHs while in residency and I had one going into residency. The greatest utility in having this degree is, as others mentioned, to be able to conduct epidemiological studies, analyze epi data, and have some expertise in biostats. As a resident I am doing some collaborative work with on an epi research project that requires pathology expertise as well. The training is definitely useful if you plan on an academic research career OR plan to work for the CDC or other government health org as a pathologist.
     
  19. pathalot

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    What sort of jobs or opportunities are available for pathologists at the CDC and such organizations?
     
  20. pathalot

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  21. path_art

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    I am an international MD graduate, and I have been accepted to Emory- Rollins School of Public Health for MPH Epi. I am interested in pursuing my residency in pathology. I am so glad I found this thread as it has given me so much information, as I was still considering my decision as I have to pay full tuition and its 16k/sem. As this whole process is new to me, I would really appreciate if someone could give me some insight on what electives and research projects I should concentrate on. They even have a certificate program in molecular and genetic epidemiology. Thank you in advance.
     
  22. pathstudent

    pathstudent Sound Kapital

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    I had a guy that overlapped residency with me that had a PhD in epidemiology and public health. He went to work for a company in SF doing something that I never understood. That company he worked for got bought up and he said he made so much money that he could essentially retire. Instead he is now a partner in a venture capital firm called Spark.
     

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