Do you know any MD/MPHs or MDs who did their MPH before/after getting their MD? How has the MPH shaped their experience in medicine? I'm thinking about doing one before going into medicine to understand the larger system I hope to be involved in as a future physician. Thanks!

Asked by Anonymous

My roommate actually completed his MPH before he started med school! I just asked him your question and this was his response:

"First of all, there are several kinds of MPHs that are all vastly different. I did Epidemiology & Biostatistics, which is considered the established degree. Learning how to critically assess the scientific basis of medical knowledge makes you a critical consumer of information. That’s huge because you can understand the research that’s becoming increasingly important in evidence-based medicine, which gives you a leg up on peers. With a MPH, you’ll understand the world of research, how to conduct it in the world of academia - a huge part of grants and funding - how data is relevant, how data interplays with issues, and how to answer questions scientifically, which makes your research much more effective, accurate, and useful.  My MPH also helps me understand how the system works - hospitals, private insurance, the government, everything. In general, a graduate degree changes what’s expected of you in a doctoral program, but also gives you a useful swath of expertise."

Keep the asks coming, folks.

Hey R, I love reading your blogs and life as a medical student. I was actually looking at the OHSU website when I stumbled on the student speak page where I was blown away by your writing! I'm just curious, what made you decide to go into medicine? Do you have any advice for an undergrad pre-med (like me haha) or any other tips?

Asked by Anonymous

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Why, thank you, but there are much better writers here in the medblr scene; clerkshipproject, medicalstate, or ladykaymd's Stories from the Wards series are top of mind. I usually share my writing between my blog and OHSU Student Speak, so if you’ve read it here, you’ll have read it there.

What made me decide to go into medicine? Well, that’s a long story that involves an old man, a newspaper, communist terrorists, explosives in roads, lepers, a particularly wet monsoon season, and giant ungodly insects. If I get enough asks, maybe I’ll write a post about it. Suffice it to say, after all that, I was convinced medicine was for me.

Tips and advice? Sure, here are a few general ones:

  • Be kind - Help everyone, even the ones who compete against you. You’ll feel better in the long run.
  • Stop stressing - You have 80 years ahead of you to stress about things that matter. If you’re sweating a GPA of 3.68 instead of a 3.7, you need to find bigger things to worry about. 
  • Find purpose - This was huge for me. It’s easy to aimlessly wander in college and keep “discovering yourself”; that’s why we go to college in the first place, right? If you’re still discovering yourself after 3 years, it’s time to change gears. Meditate on what you’re passionate about and pursue it. Ideally, make it something that renders society better. 
  • Invest in your network - The people you know are much more advantageous than the facts you can recite. 
  • Consider the possibilities - If your medical school applications don’t work out, reapply within reason. If it ultimately doesn’t work out, reconsider your strategy and don’t lose hope. There are hundreds of ways you can still help patients without being a doctor. In fact, you could have a bigger impact on patients at a larger scale with an MPH, focused purpose, some gusto, and elbow grease. 
  • Say yes -  You have less to lose than you think (unless it’s something illegal; then you should reconsider).
  • Be introspective - Metacognition is at a premium these days. Take time out of your week to think about why you’re thinking the way you are. Your maturity will be leaps and bounds ahead of your peers’ because of it.

This post was longer than expected, but thanks for the question anon! If anyone is interested, my ask box is always open. I don’t advertise it normally, but feel free to write me. I’m more than happy to answer. 

Edit: I’m actually incredibly bored right now. Ask me all the questions. Please. 

What do you know about MD/JD's, have you ever come across one? Do you think there's a major intersection between the fields of law and medicine? I'm determined to pursue medicine but law has always intrigued me too and I can't help but think there is some kind of relationship between the two. Thoughts? Thanks :)

Asked by partsmakeme

My pathology professor is actually an MD/JD! I haven’t really discussed his experience with the dual degree, so I can’t comment on that. 

I can speculate, however, that MD/JDs probably play a huge role in three arenas - litigation (malpractice, etc.), health policy, and health care administration. In my experience, those are where legal matters tend to come into play more often. 

Typically, dual degree physicians find themselves in more leadership roles, leading change in institutions in one aspect or another. If leading physicians is something you’re interested in, definitely look into a dual degree. Granted, you can do that even without a second degree, but doors open more easily to those with both. 

Also, if you choose to pursue a dual degree, make sure you have a conviction for why you’re pursuing it. Never invest time into something just so you can “have the letters after your name.” Have a purpose and pursue it. Those degrees are a means to an end, not an end in and of themselves. 

why is your blog run on donations? isnt it a tumblr, if so it should be free of cost! or does getting rid of the tumblr in the url cost to keep the site running? please clear this for me! much appreciated!

Asked by Anonymous

That donation box is a vestige from I time when I reviewed AMCAS essays on a donation basis.  Folks could donate what they want for a single review of their personal statement. Some people were generous, others not so much, but it was a good experience. Now, I’m just too lazy to dig into my website code and remove the donation box. 

These days I still do essay reviews, but through a new company called Lean On that pairs you up with a medical student with a similar premed background to maximize your chances of application success. It’s kind of like having a future successful version of yourself telling you how to get in! Check it out if you have the chance.

Running my blog as “thebiopsy.com” instead of “thebiopsy.tumblr.com” does cost money, actually. I thought it would be a worthwhile investment in my internet identity. 

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