DrJosephKim

Advisor
10+ Year Member
Mar 29, 2008
1,386
9
USA
www.drjosephkim.com
For those of you who may be struggling about medical school decisions, here's some advice: get an MPH (master's in public health)

This will help you in several ways:

1. Show that you have a very strong interest in healthcare and that you're committed to learning.

2. When applying for residency after finishing medical school, that MPH may be very beneficial (depending on the type of specialty you're interested in). An MPH can also be very beneficial if you plan to pursue subspecialty fellowships.

3. If for some reason medical school just doesn't work out, you'll be in a much better position to work in the healthcare industry. For those non-clinical opportunities, take a look at:

http://nonclinical.blogspot.com/

Now, the nice thing about an MPH is that you can get this degree online, part-time, or full-time. If you're still a working professional, you can slowly earn your MPH over the course of a few years while you're still working.

For those who want to get an MPH in 1 year, there are programs that offer an intensive 1-yr program.

Need more convincing? Read this AMSA article:
http://www.amsa.org/cph/mdmphguide.cfm

Here are some excerpts:

Why should you do an MPH…before medical school?
  • "I did my MPH between undergraduate school and medical school. I was really interested in international health and environmental health, and also health policy. I was interested in medical school but I felt that I needed to explore public health in a structured way first (as my interest in medicine was very much based in what I could do in public health in the future). I think I actually would have quit medical school with all its frustrations and myopic view of health if I didn't have the base of public health to go on."
  • "The full public health experience" - a full year (or two) devoted to public health, and an MPH's perspective while attending medical school
  • Don't have to juggle medical school and public health school classes
  • Many people who earn an MPH before medical school do so as deferment of entry (either for academic or personal reasons). Those who do it mindfully have a very broad perspective that usually is grounded in personal experience (peace corps, family history, etc.).
  • Great suggestion for pre-meds that didn't get into med school right away and are looking for experience, a degree, and an extra "umf" to their resume.
Why should you do an MPH…ever?
  • To approach health as a population-based issue rather than an individual one
  • To contextualize health: social, economic, cultural, religious, etc.
  • To gain research skills (e.g. epidemiology and biostatistics) that build the foundation of public health
  • To develop and implement health programs in limited resource settings that are tailored to the specific needs of the community and in partnership with that community.
  • A broader range of career options
  • Increase networking potential - access to key people in the public health world in your community
  • Opportunity to travel or experience health from a different perspective
  • It gives you credibility in public health circles and trying to advocate for change in your community (or outside of it) on a policy level
  • Access to an institution with resources that can be used for the communities with which you work
  • "One of the best things about any MPH program is the group of people that you're surrounded by. Everyone has different goals, experiences, focuses, but we're still like-minded in many respects. Most of us want to make a change, or to become part of change that's already taking place. We push each other to think through conversations within and outside of class. We recommend books to one another, and we let each other know about lectures that are taking place nearby. We force each other to look at things differently. This environment - in addition to the classes, obviously - is extremely conducive to learning and thinking about public health issues, as well as for making friends and connections that will likely remain for years… The classes are extremely engaging and truly help me to see how medicine is practiced on many levels."
 

crazylegs85

10+ Year Member
Apr 14, 2008
1
0
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Dr. Kim,

I appreciate your post. I am working toward a career in medicine and an MPH degree is something that interests me as a supplement to an MD degree for the population based perspective it would provide. However, I still need to complete my pre-med courses before meeting medical school requirements.

My question is, do you know whether MPH programs tend to include any pre-med course requirements, or will those need to be taken on the side?

Thanks!
 

helpfuldoc2b

Membership Revoked
Removed
10+ Year Member
Dec 6, 2006
429
1
Status
Dr. Kim,

I appreciate your post. I am working toward a career in medicine and an MPH degree is something that interests me as a supplement to an MD degree for the population based perspective it would provide. However, I still need to complete my pre-med courses before meeting medical school requirements.

My question is, do you know whether MPH programs tend to include any pre-med course requirements, or will those need to be taken on the side?

Thanks!
None will include pre-med courses, an MPH is a graduate degree in Public Health, totally different classes.
 
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iluvnerds

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Apr 1, 2008
12
0
Status
Pre-Medical
There are some Master of Science programs that include prereqs but not many.

I'm in my final course of my MSHS in International Health through TUI. It has really helped me gain greater perspective on what and why I desire to practice medicine. The courses gave me a more "academic" view of what I experienced while volunteering in Africa.
 

theedj

10+ Year Member
Apr 26, 2008
6
0
North Carolina
Status
Non-Student
What about if my interest lies more with global infectious diseases? MPH programs that I have looked at tend to put the emphasis on US policies. I have looked at the MHS program at Johns Hopkins and they have concentrations in infectious diseases (via epidemiology), immunology, or international health. Do MHS degrees hold the same weight as MPH?
 

Luxian

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Dec 13, 2006
405
1
Status
Medical Student
What about if my interest lies more with global infectious diseases? MPH programs that I have looked at tend to put the emphasis on US policies. I have looked at the MHS program at Johns Hopkins and they have concentrations in infectious diseases (via epidemiology), immunology, or international health. Do MHS degrees hold the same weight as MPH?

I love my program at Berkeley called the HED program (for Health, Environment and Development). It's situated within the School of Public Health and focuses on health in developing countries. Check it out!
 
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