Frequently Asked Questions

Q.  How is the Master of Science Degree in Population Medicine different from a Master of Public Health?

A.  In a rapidly changing health care environment, physicians will be responsible for the care of communities and populations. The Master of Science in Population Medicine will focus on providing the knowledge, attitudes, and skills for dealing with these important areas of health care. The PC-PM program aims to improve health outcomes and reduce health disparities using multimodal and multisectoral approaches.  The knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary for population medicine, ranging from quality, safety, leadership and health disparities, will be integrated longitudinally throughout the educational program in nine newly designed courses. Unlike MPH programs, students will apply the knowledge and skills they learn in the classroom directly to the care of patients and communities throughout the four years of medical school.

Q. Why pursue the combined MD-ScM degree rather than only an MD degree?

A.  The combined-degree program is designed to provide medical students with training in competencies such as interprofessional teamwork, epidemiology, and quality improvement.  The program prepares medical students for leadership roles in healthcare on the local, state, or national level.

Q.  How many years will it take to complete the program?

A.  The program is uniquely designed to integrate the master's coursework throughout the 4-year Medical School curriculum.  It is anticipated that most students will complete the coursework and graduate in 4 years. There is, however, an option to take an additional year.

Q.  What is a Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship (LIC)?

A.  The Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship (LIC) is an essential component of the PC-PM Program.  The LIC model for core clinical education in medical schools was first introduced in the 1970s but became more prevalent in medical education beginning in the 2000s.  This model provides students with an understanding of the continuum of health and disease, and transitions in care,  by participating in the care of patients wherever it is delivered--from the outpatient setting to the hospital, rehabilitation, and care in the home. Students in the LIC will follow a panel of approximately 20-35 patients over the course of their third year, including newborns, geriatric patients, and pregnant women.  Students serve as advocates and navigators for their patients throughout the year and attend physician visits, surgical procedures, and deliveries with patients from their panel.  In addition, students spend one half-day per week over the course of a year with physicians in  internal medicine, family medicine, pediatrics, psychiatry/neurology, obstetrics and gynecology, and surgery.  

Q.  I'm interested in population medicine, but not in primary care.  Can I still enroll in this program?

A.  Yes.  Although our goal is to graduate more primary care physicians, we understand that students' interests change over time.  Health care will need physicians trained in population medicine in all specialty areas. Enrolling in this program will not put students at a disadvantage if they decide to apply to specialty fields other than primary care.