UT School of Public Health and Baylor College of Medicine to Offer Dual Degree Program
HOUSTON—(Aug. 2008)—Students studying to become doctors at Baylor College of Medicine will now have the opportunity to broaden their approach to patient care by earning a Master of Public Health degree from The University of Texas School of Public Health. The two institutions will offer the MD/MPH dual degree program, effective Sept. 1.
“It is a tremendous opportunity for both institutions to work with excellent students who want to further develop their approach to medicine and public health and want to have an impact at the community or population-level, whether that is local, national or international,” said Cynthia Chappell, Ph.D., professor and senior associate dean for academic affairs at the UT School of Public Health.
“This joint degree program will allow interested students to further their career path in both medicine and public health. BCM is enthusiastic about this new educational opportunity for its medical students,” said Stephen Greenberg, MD, senior vice president and dean of medical education at BCM.
During the five-year program, participants will work toward their medical degree at Baylor while integrating public health training into their coursework. That training will include at least 33 credit hours from courses at the UT School of Public Health, plus an internship at a public health organization and a master’s thesis. The MPH degree program will require that students acquire skills and knowledge in five core public health disciplines, including social and behavioral sciences, biostatistics, environmental health sciences, epidemiology, and health services administration.
“Public health training can better prepare these students for many of the issues they will be facing in medicine,” Chappell said. “For example, with elderly patients, it isn’t enough just to treat their bodies. You need to know where they live, their family situation and so many other pieces of information that impact their health well beyond the aspects of medicine.”
Chappell said the dual degree program would be ideal for medical students who are interested in pursuing careers in international health, aging and/or multicultural health. “We plan to identify outlets for the students to experience the practice of medicine and public health in a community setting,” Chappell said. “That may be in Africa or here in our own backyard.”
Already, a half-dozen students who began classes in August at Baylor College of Medicine have expressed interest in the dual degree program with the UT School of Public Health. Chappell said they hope to enroll between 12 and 15 students per year.
The UT School of Public Health offers a similar dual degree program with The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and it is currently in the process of revamping its MD/MPH program with The University of Texas Medical School at Houston.
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