Mar 26, 2010
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Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Hi all,

I'm trying to find out what would be the best degree for the mission field that I could add to my B.S. (Zoology) in 2 years or less. I am personally drawn to the MPH, especially the area of infectious diseases, but I can't seem to find much information on how I could use that expertise in the (probable) third world - I'm not really interested in the NA job market. Anybody got some advice???

Secondly....Due to being a mother of 4 very young children, my only option is online schooling. I have found London's Master of Science, Infectious Disease, to be the most interesting online option. I would love any feedback on other good online options and the London one in particular.

Thanks!
 
Mar 16, 2010
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By "mission field" you mean that you want to use your degree as a Christian missionary?

If so, I'm not optimistic about its use for this, unless the mission you have in mind has some serious connections to NGOs or government. Just because you will have a MSc. or MPH in infectious disease does not mean that you'll be situated to use it in a remote location where you have no authority or do not control infrastructure.

This may sound strange, but based on my travels (as an anthropologist who has seen many missionaries around the world), I would think actually that advanced first aid (or paramedic training) would be more useful than an online masters degree. You could also consider trying to get involved with Missionary Aviation Fellowship, who make an important difference in the lives of many people.
 
Mar 30, 2010
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Other Health Professions Student
I'm not sure what it is that you want to learn but an MPH in Infectious Diseases probably isn't going to teach you what you want to know for real world application. You might be better off with clinical science for missionary work.
 
Dec 10, 2009
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Other Health Professions Student
For field-based work, NGOS look for people with specific skills to offer-supply management, logistics, emergency preparedness, clinical skills, finance, disease containment, communications etcetera-not so much background knowledge.
 
Feb 9, 2010
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Other Health Professions Student
I would suggest looking at nursing (though there are a lot of different ways to go about your goal). If you want to do infectious disease, you tend to need to have some kind of certification to actually work with people.
 
Dec 30, 2009
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Pre-Medical
I would suggest looking at nursing (though there are a lot of different ways to go about your goal). If you want to do infectious disease, you tend to need to have some kind of certification to actually work with people.
Absolutely agree with you. I have an interest in clinical microbiology/infectious diseases and I wanted to work in infection control, clinical research etc and I can't get a job anywhere. I was going to go and get a MPH in microbio/infectious diseases but the problem is, in order to do clinical or any practical application, they want people to be a RN, PA, NP, DO, or MD, which I am none of so I can't get the job. You really have to wait and do the MPH as a secondary degree after getting mo rebiomedical/clinical science backgrounds/patient experience through science and medical graduate degrees.

Its really frustrating to have a specific interest but having to go and get degrees in areas you might not necessarily want in order to work with patients and the general public.
 
Mar 26, 2010
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Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
See, now I was kinda of the impression that the areas we're looking in (southern Africa) are so people-poor (professional) that they're willing to use anybody with some knowledge. Friends have said "A mom is a nurse, a nurse is a doctor, and a doctor is a surgeon"...so I thought maybe a MSc would allow me to do some community education, research, etc. That's what I'm really interested in, not so much the clinical side except as "Dr Mom" ;). What do y'all think of that?

Also, we will probably be based in a city because my husband is planning on teaching at a Bible college or seminary, and most of those are in city centers. So the "tribal" kind of missionary work isn't really what we're looking at. What say you?
 

Poop Eater

10+ Year Member
Jan 31, 2009
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I'm with you. I think an MPH has value. If you check out Samaritan's Purse and World Vision's job listings, you'll find that there's a few jobs where an MPH is what they expect.
 

varekai1018

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Dec 29, 2005
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I also agree that the MPH has value in developing world settings. I've worked in East Africa and SE Asia, and there are PLENTY of MPHs running about - they work in health education, program planning/implementation/evaluation, policy and advocacy.

I haven't worked with a mission organization before, but it probably wouldn't hurt to contact someone if you have a specific group in mind - and maybe even try to set up a short-term practicum in a country of interest. Overseas postings are incredibly competitive - I had to put in my share of volunteer/intern experience before landing a paid position, which is pretty much the same scenario for others I met "in the field". It doesn't hurt to get your name known.

There are also some fellowships that are designed for entry-level professionals overseas - you might want to check out the Catholic Relief Service one (I have friends who aren't Catholic who have been through the program).

Good luck deciding!