Why should I consider the dual PA / MPH training?
Dual training provides several advantages for the PA:
- Wider choice of career opportunities – PAs who hold an MPH are trained for more than traditional patient care roles. Dually-trained PAs can work as:
a. Staff in local and state health departments
b. Clinic administrator / Lead physician assistant
c. Public health educator
d. Disease surveillance monitor
e. Clinical researcher
f. Physician assistant program faculty member
g. Public health policy analyst (both for the government at all levels and for private corporations)
Right now, dually-trained PAs are working at prestigious organizations such as the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Duke University School of Medicine, Merck Pharmaceuticals, the American Academy of Physician Assistants and the Physician Assistant Education Association. The first PA to join Doctors Without Borders holds an MPH. Several people who hold the PA and MPH credentials are working in community health centers across the US through the National Health Service Corps.
In addition, PAs who might be interested in applying for the Center for Disease Control’s Epidemic Intelligence Service should be aware that only PAs who possess an MPH are eligible to apply this program.
- Gain a broader perspective on caring for patients– Traditionally, PAs have been trained to focus primarily on the patients right in front of them and not necessarily on the broader health needs of communities. Public health training offers skills in how to assess the impact of the patient’s broader environment on his/her health.
- Increased ability to provide evidence-based medical care– PAs who have additional training in epidemiology and biostatistics are skilled at reading, analyzing, and applying the most recent findings in medical research to their clinical practice. PAs with public health training may take the lead to design and publish medical research studies.
- International opportunities – Although the PA credential is not recognized in most countries in the world, public health training is universally recognized. Many of the world’s most pressing health problems are public health issues more than medical issues (e.g., air and water pollution, lack of vaccines, sanitation problems, and lack of knowledge about preventive health measures). PAs with training in public health are well-equipped to tackle health challenges in the developing world.
Why should I come to UNMC for the dual PA / MPH program?
- UNMC has been successfully educating Physician Assistants for almost 40 years. Our graduates consistently perform with excellence on the PA National Certifying Examination (100% first-time pass-rate in 9 of the past 10 years) and quickly find employment in the specialty and location of their choice. Our program is consistently ranked among the top PA programs nationally.
- Students at UNMC have outstanding opportunities to learn both medicine and public health in underserved areas. The UNMC PA program has deep ties to doctors, hospitals and communities throughout Nebraska and the Midwest. Many of these clinical placement sites are in communities which face both medical and public health challenges. Students work closely with physicians and PAs who are working to address these community health issues.
- Personal attention from faculty. The PA Program and the College of Public Health are large enough to offer many opportunities, but small enough that each student can develop relationships with a number of medical and public health faculty members.