Last month, the IU School of Medicine received a five-year, $1.46 million grant to create the interdisciplinary joint degree program. Only 11 other U.S. medical schools received HHS funding to establish a similar interprofessional degree program this year.
The first students will enroll in the fall of 2013. The program will provide medical students with training in environmental health, infectious disease control, disease prevention and health promotion, epidemiological studies and injury control. The M.D.-MPH curriculum will be designed to allow medical students to complete both degrees in five years.
Maryellen Gusic, M.D., executive associate dean for educational affairs and the principal investigator of the grant, said the students who pursue the joint degree will not only broaden their understanding of the issues that affect the health of communities, but they will also be prepared to play expanded roles in the future in state, national or international health care and policy creation and implementation.
“The joint program will allow IU students to complete their degree in our new School of Public Health, in a program that is designed specifically to accommodate their medical school schedule,” Dr. Gusic said. “The program will integrate classroom and distance learning strategies and allow students to learn through experience by completing public health internships and research projects designed to improve the health of communities.”
In addition to supporting the curriculum for the joint M.D.-MPH program, the grant will provide funding to integrate public health content and experiences into the primary care curriculum so that all IU School of Medicine students are exposed to public health principals during their training.
Former Indiana State Health Commissioner Gregory A. Wilson, M.D., professor of public health in the IU Fairbanks School of Public Health, said this federal grant will enrich the education of future clinicians, teachers and researchers. Dr. Wilson is one of the IU faculty developing the the joint degree program.