The MD/MPH Program at OHSU is specifically designed for exceptional students with a firm commitment to a career involving a population-based clinical practice (medicine-public health) model or one in which a public health degree would enhance career productivity in research, policy, or programs. MD/MPH students are admitted to the research oriented Epidemiology and Biostatistics track, which provides them with the critical core concepts and methods they will need for any career in medicine and public health. Elective courses, the internship requirement, and the Master's thesis offer students ample opportunity to explore and gain expertise in the area(s) of public health research and practice of their choice.
Students begin their MPH studies with an intensive three-week introductory Epidemiology course prior to beginning medical school classes. This brings public health methods to the forefront of their medical school experience and helps form the "community of scholars" we try to nurture through their five years at OHSU.
We consolidate that community of scholars with an MD/MPH seminar in the fall of their first year and with ongoing mentoring throughout their five years at OHSU. During the first two years, students accumulate another 10-12 credits by taking selected MPH courses, and we encourage them to take a summer internships in public health research or practice between the first and second years. This strategy keeps students engaged with, and thinking about, public health issues and perspectives while studying clinical medicine and allow them to become familiar with the faculty and research in the Department. A year dedicated primarily to graduate studies for the MPH degree follows the third (core clerkship) year, during which students complete the core course requirements and the bulk of their required thesis work.
Despite the demands of medical school, these exceptional students remain strongly involved with public health. A number of them maintain an active involvement in ongoing research and programs throughout their first two years. Summer internship projects have included work with projects at the Oregon Health Division, the Northwest Portland Indian Health Board, the CDC, and under the guidance of independent researchers. Several students have developed, funded, and carried out their own international health projects in Africa and South America. Recent thesis projects have included a meta-analysis of risk factors related to vaginal birth after cesarean section, a survey of bone density characteristics among Alaska Natives in rural Alaska, and an analysis of tuberculosis skin test results in Oregon corrections facilities. The MD/MPH program has also contributed substantially to the culture of each medical school class.The MD/MPH students comprise 5-12% of the current medical school classes. Through their activity in the medical school and the public health perspective they bring to their studies, these students have successfully stimulated the interest of other medical students in both public health electives and preventive medicine and have helped our Department foster the "community habit of mind" we promote in our involvement with the education of medical students at OHSU.
A sample MPH course schedule for MD-MPH students can be found in the MD-MPH Appendix in the MPH Handbook.