Question about OD/MPH & OD/MBA

EyEnStein 07

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    Hello all,

    I have tried searching forums but received no results. Though i wont apply to Optometry school for another 2 or 3 years, i was wondering if any one could give me info on programs (i basically found these on the SUNY website) OD/MPH and OD/MBA.

    From my understanding OD/MS and OD/PhD are also available degrees however they are more research oriented.

    So my question is What are the benefits of having an OD/MPH or an OD/MBA?

    What is the difference between Optometrists who have these degrees in terms of there practice?

    The website only provides info on how to obtain the degrees and from what school, but i found no info on what these degrees actually mean?

    (aside from the fact that MPH is Masters of Public health, and MBA is Masters of Business Administration, i dont know anything)


    Thanks!
     
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    xmattODx

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      I am an OD/MPH although I went to public health school after graduating from optometry school.

      I think before we talk about any benefits to an OD/MPH or any career differences it is important to understand what public health is.

      According to What is public health, public health is "the science and art of protecting and improving the health of communities through education, promotion of healthy lifestyles and research for disease and injury prevention."

      There is a wide array of public health jobs. From Biostatician to community health nurse. From epidemilogical researcher to behavioural educator.

      No matter what role a person plays in the public health field they are generally interested in populations rather than individuals. Health rather than disease and prevention rather than treatment.

      The above said, what benefit is there to an OD/MPH vs an OD? None.
      What career differences exist between an OD/MPH and an OD? Few.

      One should only study public health if one is interested in the public's health. The OD/MPH's that I know are in academia. Some are in general practice. Some practice in the VA system. Very few are true public health workers.

      There is no career plan for OD/MPHs.

      I could do optometry without a problem (with my OD degree). I could get a get an entry level public health job with my MPH (but then I couldn't pay my OD student loans) but there are little to no jobs for an OD/MPH specifically.

      I made the choice to pursue a career path that allows me to use both my OD and MPH degrees. It has been very slow going. From my MPH I have had a couple of articles published in optometric literature (papers based on public health principles). I was able to live in the Middle East for a semester teaching optometry. I was able to present at a conference in South Africa. Thats it.

      I got my current job because I have an OD/MPH but it is a dramatic pay cut from previous jobs. The plus is I get to live in the South Pacific and hopefully make a difference on the prevalence of avoidable blindness throughout the South Pacific. I'll also try to use the skills gained in my MPH education to do research and writing.

      Bottom line of a far too long post?

      An OD/MPH will not get you anything extra outside of academia.
      There is no specific career path for OD/MPH folks. It is a tough road to walk and more and more are trying but it takes connections and time.
      I would argue that if you desire to use your MPH you'll make less than someone just using their OD. That's the nature of public health work.

      Good luck.
       
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      EyEnStein 07

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        I am an OD/MPH although I went to public health school after graduating from optometry school.

        I think before we talk about any benefits to an OD/MPH or any career differences it is important to understand what public health is.

        According to What is public health, public health is "the science and art of protecting and improving the health of communities through education, promotion of healthy lifestyles and research for disease and injury prevention."

        There is a wide array of public health jobs. From Biostatician to community health nurse. From epidemilogical researcher to behavioural educator.

        No matter what role a person plays in the public health field they are generally interested in populations rather than individuals. Health rather than disease and prevention rather than treatment.

        The above said, what benefit is there to an OD/MPH vs an OD? None.
        What career differences exist between an OD/MPH and an OD? Few.

        One should only study public health if one is interested in the public's health. The OD/MPH's that I know are in academia. Some are in general practice. Some practice in the VA system. Very few are true public health workers.

        There is no career plan for OD/MPHs.

        I could do optometry without a problem (with my OD degree). I could get a get an entry level public health job with my MPH (but then I couldn't pay my OD student loans) but there are little to no jobs for an OD/MPH specifically.

        I made the choice to pursue a career path that allows me to use both my OD and MPH degrees. It has been very slow going. From my MPH I have had a couple of articles published in optometric literature (papers based on public health principles). I was able to live in the Middle East for a semester teaching optometry. I was able to present at a conference in South Africa. Thats it.

        I got my current job because I have an OD/MPH but it is a dramatic pay cut from previous jobs. The plus is I get to live in the South Pacific and hopefully make a difference on the prevalence of avoidable blindness throughout the South Pacific. I'll also try to use the skills gained in my MPH education to do research and writing.

        Bottom line of a far too long post?

        An OD/MPH will not get you anything extra outside of academia.
        There is no specific career path for OD/MPH folks. It is a tough road to walk and more and more are trying but it takes connections and time.
        I would argue that if you desire to use your MPH you'll make less than someone just using their OD. That's the nature of public health work.

        Good luck.

        Great Post! I can't thank you enough for all that info. It seems to me, besides a teaching career or the very few jobs that are existent, getting an OD/MPH will either allow your primary job (excluding research etc..) to either be in the Public Heath Field or an OD? is this correct?


        If anyone here has an OD/MBA and can provide a similar post, i would really appreciate that.

        Also one more question about degrees...not sure if this is one, but often i see Optometrists (some near my area) who have OD, FAAO.

        Is FAAO some type of degree or some type of organization? Is it something one joins and accessible by every OD? or one that someone has to go to school for? (just curious)

        Thanks again xmattODx!
         

        xmattODx

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          It seems to me, besides a teaching career or the very few jobs that are existent, getting an OD/MPH will either allow your primary job (excluding research etc..) to either be in the Public Heath Field or an OD? is this correct?

          Yes I agree with your statement. There are a small number of ODs in the world who are now trying to really put their public health degrees to work but each is struggling to find a way to do it.


          Also one more question about degrees...not sure if this is one, but often i see Optometrists (some near my area) who have OD, FAAO.

          Is FAAO some type of degree or some type of organization? Is it something one joins and accessible by every OD? or one that someone has to go to school for?

          You can earn Fellowship in the American Academy of Optometry. If you earn this status you can use the FAAO behind your name. You earn this status by collecting points. Points are granted by doing a residency, publishing papers, doing case reports among other things. When you have enough points you can sit for an oral exam. If you pass the exam you are an FAAO.
           

          qwopty99

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            I'll just add one more thing.

            To be FAAO, you not only have to pass their requirements (5 case reports, but things like residency and publications can offset that number), but you have to pay the annual membership fee (it's something you have to keep active in order to retain the designation).
             
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            qwopty99

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              I made the choice to pursue a career path that allows me to use both my OD and MPH degrees. It has been very slow going. From my MPH I have had a couple of articles published in optometric literature (papers based on public health principles). I was able to live in the Middle East for a semester teaching optometry. I was able to present at a conference in South Africa. Thats it.

              Could you have attained this job without the MPH?

              I've actually thought of going back for an MPH part-time. I'm not sure why - but I want some kind of graduate degree and am trying to get a feel for the most appropriate one.
               

              EyEnStein 07

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                Could you have attained this job without the MPH?

                I've actually thought of going back for an MPH part-time. I'm not sure why - but I want some kind of graduate degree and am trying to get a feel for the most appropriate one.

                Thanks for your info in your previous post.
                I kind of have the same feeling that when i get to this point in my life, to gain a graduate degree not just a professional. So i was curious to MPH, which is actually pretty interesting, but it sucks that there is no overlap/integration with OD, atleast very little, but probably not specific enough.

                Do you guys think in the future there will be more jobs presented that use this OD/MPH as integration? or will it stay as is.

                From what xmattODx has said, seems like he could NOT have gotten his job without an MPH, or atleast MPH was required.


                Does this mean that OD/MBA has a similar status to OD/MPH?
                I mean i would imagine with an OD/MBA, that optometrist is more likely to run a better business (though im sure there are many regular OD's who have been successful) because of the MBA background, but there probably is no "job" that entails ones degree to be an OD and MBA (again if there are very view, and probably based on luck/ a connection).

                Any possibility of improvements in the future from what you guys know from being OD's? or is it carved in stone.
                 

                qwopty99

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                  there are many successful folks who only have the OD, that have gone on and done interesting things. so the bottom line is - it still depends on the individual.
                   
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                  xmattODx

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                    Could you have attained this job without the MPH?

                    I've actually thought of going back for an MPH part-time. I'm not sure why - but I want some kind of graduate degree and am trying to get a feel for the most appropriate one.

                    I got my current position because I have an MPH and an optometry degree. I could do it without an MPH but it was looked upon favourably that I had it. My MPH skills will be useful when it comes to monitoring and evaluating the program I work for. The optometry degree is useful when I see patients, when I supervise nurses in the eye clinic, and when I teach said nurses.

                    The problem with a joint OD and MPH is that if you want to work in public health you are going to be working for quite low wages. This makes the payment of optometry student loans difficult. The MPH is a generalist degree. A lot of people leave public health school and compete for the same entry level positions. Its difficult from an ego and financial standpoint to be applying for the same jobs as a 24 year old fresh out of public health school when you have a "doctoral" degree.

                    There is now an OD/MPH working for the CDC. I believe he (?) is working in the diabetes department though. So that is making more use of his MPH than his OD degree.

                    I know an OD/MPH that works in refugee camps in Southeast Asia. He is a pioneer in using both degrees and would freely admit that it is a struggle to find funding.

                    The group I work for now has hired another OD/MPH to do the same thing I do in another country.

                    I could go on and on but suffice it to say that there is more work for OD/MPHs than there was 10 years ago but there is still very little. I think if anyone is really interested in public health it would be worthwhile to contact the vision care section of the American Public health association. A lot of OD/MPHs there who can tell you what they do. (Many academics, many general practitioners, a few public health workers).

                    As an aside my job in the Middle East did not require an MPH but I learned about it through MPH connections. They still need help so if anyone is interested PM me. Its a great experience. The public health world is a very who you know world. Connections mean more than knowledge in a lot of cases.
                     

                    Richard_Hom

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                      ..."So my question is What are the benefits of having an OD/MPH or an OD/MBA?

                      What is the difference between Optometrists who have these degrees in terms of there practice?..."

                      One degree that you didn't mention and which I feel is equivalence or more important than the other two is the MPA (Masters in Public Administration) degree.

                      I've done the MBA and did find it useful as a second career in my earlier years, but a career a career that can leverage your OD and MBA degree isn't likely. However, I've heard of several OD's who have returned to graduate business school to obtain an MBA to either manage their multi site offices or to advance their other business opportunities.

                      In the case of MPH, it isn't likely to be of any great assistance.

                      On the other hand, the MPA positions the candidate to be schooled in policy analysis and program evaluation and stresses intergovernmental and non-profit interaction. Much of today's policy initiatives that are thrust open local government by the federal government need a cadre of managers who can understand the intricate relationships between the three levels of government (federal, state, and county/local).

                      In general, though, like the MBA, the MPA or the MPH will not help you in your private practice but may help you in being recognized for promotion in larger organizations.

                      Do the graduate degree with a purpose in mind and it will transpire to that objective.
                       

                      EyEnStein 07

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                        One degree that you didn't mention and which I feel is equivalence or more important than the other two is the MPA (Masters in Public Administration) degree.

                        I've done the MBA and did find it useful as a second career in my earlier years, but a career a career that can leverage your OD and MBA degree isn't likely. However, I've heard of several OD's who have returned to graduate business school to obtain an MBA to either manage their multi site offices or to advance their other business opportunities.

                        In the case of MPH, it isn't likely to be of any great assistance.

                        On the other hand, the MPA positions the candidate to be schooled in policy analysis and program evaluation and stresses intergovernmental and non-profit interaction. Much of today's policy initiatives that are thrust open local government by the federal government need a cadre of managers who can understand the intricate relationships between the three levels of government (federal, state, and county/local).

                        In general, though, like the MBA, the MPA or the MPH will not help you in your private practice but may help you in being recognized for promotion in larger organizations.

                        Do the graduate degree with a purpose in mind and it will transpire to that objective.

                        First off, just want to say its interesting you mention MPA. I wonder why SUNY and some of the other schools i checked DONT have a joint OD/MPA program, only MPH, MBA, MS, PhD.

                        Correct me if im wrong but then doesn't the MPA work similarly to the MPH? I mean one with an MPA will be in the "governmental" aspect of work, and not necessarily using the "OD" degree. Or are you talking about specific jobs that only OD/MPA's can get? I mean it sounds again like picking the job you want, either or.

                        I think it can be ambiguous and misleading at times for them to offer such degrees where they are not really being put to "proper" use. I really hope in the future, they find some type of integration in jobs, or else it just seems like 2 degrees on somewhat opposite spectrum's (talking about MPH, MPA), and provide for some type of job flexibility (ex. one gets tired of the current position, or has strong interest in both fields)

                        However i do agree with qwopty99 where he has said that the OD/PhD holds somewhat more of a powerful association inside of the profession, and possible the OD/MBA (assuming this person is looking for private expansion or something).
                         
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