In the latest issue of Public Health Reports, September/October 2014, Harvard University School of Public Health alumni Dr. Kevin Koo, and Associate Dean Dr. Ian Lapp, explored guiding principles for an MPH program that can engage and satisfy the unique needs of MD/MPH students.
Medical and public health education is moving toward a streamlined model of training physicians and public health professionals rooted in population-level expertise. Recent innovations in undergraduate education, medical curricular development, and postgraduate training have advanced existing constructs for delivering relevant skills and practical applications to a new generation of trainees. These students consider public health as more than an addendum to a separate course of study, and furthermore as a primary domain of inquiry and practice unto itself. National leadership in related fields has also recognized the changing land scape of career trajectories in public health, articulated by the U.S. Institute of Medicine and manifested by a growing number of postgraduate training programs in preventive medicine and applied epidemiology.
As HSPH rethinks the structure and function of professional degree programs, they have recognized the seminal challenge of considering the growing cadre of future physicians who are pursuing public health education while in medical school. Providing MD/MPH students with a thoughtful, well-designed curriculum and career-defining opportunities at this crossroads in their training supports their development as public health physicians, researchers, educators, and leaders. The authors recommend that medical and public health schools should consider these students as having goals and needs that are non-overlapping with the traditional audiences of professional public health qualifications. And that through ongoing, interdisciplinary discourse of medical and public health education—we can effectively train and sustain the next generation of physicians whose impact will span both the clinic and the community.
This week’s PHR feature article, From the Schools and Programs of Public Health: On Academics: Educating the Next Generation of Physicians in Public Health: The MPH for Medical Students, will be open access through October 23rd. For full access to current content, visit the Public Health Reports website to subscribe.