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Should I get an MPH?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Bob, Nov 29, 1999.

  1. Bob


    Hello everyone,

    Ive heard that admissions people do not like to accept people from other health professions. Is this true? How much can getting an MPH improve my chances of being accepted?

  2. Tanya

    Tanya Senior Member
    10+ Year Member

    Sep 9, 1999
    Likes Received:
    There is talk all the time about people changing their careers to switch to medicine and health care experience is helpful.

    What part of your application package are you trying to improve? Experience? Grades? Or are you just checking out other fields to make sure that you want to continue in medicine?

    After I graduated from college, I wasn?t sure that I wanted to continue to medical school. A career counselor suggested Public Health school as an option. I was going to get an MPH in environmental health because of my background in biology.
    In the course of checking out the MPH degree, I decided that I really DID want to become a doctor more than anything else. There are many roads to getting to that ultimate goal. I chose to take upper level biology classes as a post-bac to boost my science GPA. Since a flaw in my record is science GPA, I figured that the admissions committees may be more impressed by my mastery of Graduate level Biochemistry than a class called 'Sewage Treatment Plants'. Pubic health is still an interesiting field to me and I am exploring combined MD/MPH programs.

    I suggest looking over your credentials and focus in on the areas you want to stregnthen. A MPH may be helpful to you


    Class of '05 at ????

    "Just like moons and like suns,
    With the certainty of tides,
    Just like hopes springing high,
    Still I'll rise" -Maya Angelou "Still I Rise"

  3. tonem

    tonem Senior Member
    15+ Year Member

    Sep 13, 1999
    Likes Received:
    What other health profession are you coming from? I am one of several paramedics, nurses, physical therapists, etc... in my class. While interviewing, I got the impression that admissions committees looked favorably on people coming from the allied health professions because they have an intimate knowledge of medicine and health care as well as extensive experience working with patients. An MPH (graduate degrees are also looked upon favorably) would be good if you are truely interested in that but I don't think it is necessary, unless as the previous poster stated, your academic credentials need to be strengthened. If you feel that an MPH is important many schools have MD/MPH programs.
  4. ana


    Hello. It sounds like the purpose of getting an MPH would be to improve your chances of getting into a medical school. Is this true? If that is the case, I would say that while it would not hurt you, it also will not help as much as you think.

    Why do you need something to boost your chances of getting in? Is it because you have a low gpa? Then you should concentrate on improving your academic credentials by taking more advanced courses in the life/medical sciences. If you go the MPH route, you will have to complete your two years of coursework (medical schools frown on leaving a program without completing your degree) and you will delay your entrance into a medical school. Also, many of the classes you take will not help to prepare you for medical school.

    If you are truely interested in the public health field, I say "go for it." But if you are not (and it is just a way to make you more attractive to med schools), then you are probably taking a long hard route to improving your chances. Stick to the basic science/medical courses and the clinical experiences to boost your chances.

    Good luck
  5. I can say with certainty that getting an MPH will most certainly NOT be looked upon unfavorably, assuming you do well. Just as a side note, not all MPH progrmas are two years in length - some are 1 year depending upon prior professional experience.

    The degree I will receive in May will be an MHA, but it inclusive and then some of the course work that a typical MPH encompasses.

    My MHA allowed me to get great grades in a tough program - this made my so-so undergrad grades pale. Admissions commitees have apparently weighted them very heavily. I have been accepted at 4 schools thus far.

    I know 3 folks off the top of my head that got Public health degrees and are now in med school. It really lets you converse about health care matters very easily. This helps a ton in interviews. I definitely had a HUGE edge when it came to the interviews. Soemthing like the prospective versus retrospective cost reimbursement system is old hat to me, but might as well be like chinese arithmetic to other interviewees.

    All in all, I am glad I decided to pursue an MHA. I don't think I would have gotten in with a mediocre undergrad record, okay MCATS, lots of volunteer experience and years as a paramedic.

    It also lets you get GREAT recommendations if u choose to get after it.

  6. nicolette

    nicolette Member
    10+ Year Member

    Nov 6, 1999
    Likes Received:
    All of the above responses hit upon the same main point which is that you should examine where the weakness in your application is or simply which part of your application needs strengthening. Do not go into a MPH program if you don't have a strong interest in the field. If you're pursuing it only to enhance your chances at a medical school, it will make you unhappy and you will not get the most out of it. If you want to improve your application, there are many routes to it. I know that many in the public health look unfavorably at premeds who are using public health merely as a stepping stone towards medical school. But if you have a genuine interest in learning more about or becoming involved in public health or anything else for that matter, just go ahead and pursue it. If you enjoyed the experience, you will get alot out of it and that will make you a better applicant for it. Trust me, I know from personal experience, don't engage in activities/programs/volunteer projects just b/c it will look good or impress committees. If what you did doesn't excite you, it certainly will not excite the adcoms.
    Best of luck.

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