HC&P featured in Academic Medicine article

The Health Care and Prevention program is featured in an article in the April 2008 issue of Academic Medicine (Vol. 83, No. 4 / April 2008, pp. 371-377). “The MD-MPH Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,” authored by Russell Harris, Linda Kinsinger, Sue Tolleson-Rinehart, Anthony Viera, and Georgette Dent, describes the history of the fruitful collaboration between UNC’s Schools of Medicine and Public Health that led to the development of the Health Care and Prevention MPH concentration, which admitted its first students in 1997.

The article discusses HC&P’s unique curriculum, tailored specifically to meet the needs of medical students, physicians, and others with clinical backgrounds who seek to incorporate population science perspectives with their traditional medical training. The program’s goal is to help students learn to think in population as well as individual terms, preparing them to contribute to improving the health of communities as well as of individual patients.

“Our health care system is on the verge of rediscovering the value of the physician who is able to think and act in population terms,” the authors point out. “One sign that such physicians may be in our future is the fact that the number of MD-MPH programs in U.S. medical schools is growing.” Students at UNC benefit from the continuing collaboration between the Schools of Medicine and Public Health. Through the rigorous but flexible and effective curriculum of the HC&P program, they are able to take advantage of the resources of one of the country’s finest schools of public health and earn their MPH in as little as twelve months.

The HC&P program has grown dramatically in the last ten years, from an initial class of eighteen students to its current class of forty, and has educated over 270 students since its inception. More than twenty percent of UNC medical students now pursue an MPH at some time during medical school. The authors describe the changing makeup of the HC&P student cohort and their motivations for pursuing the MPH: “Their interests are increasingly health care disparities, getting care to disadvantaged groups, changing the health care system, and international health.” Students understand that their public health training will complement their medical training and enable them as physicians to address these issues more effectively and make a greater contribution to the health of the public than would medical training alone.

###

Drs. Harris, Kinsinger, Tolleson-Rinehart, and Viera have joint affiliations with the Schools of Medicine and Public Health. Dr. Dent is Associate Dean for Student Affairs in the School of Medicine.

An abstract of the article is available here.