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Med School and Health Policy?

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I'm looking to apply to Med school for fall 2021 entry - I've already written my MCAT and feel I've got a decent shot at it. I've always wanted to be a doctor as I've loved the high-pressure first aid situations that I've experienced as a Lifeguard and I enjoy scientific problem solving as well as helping people the best I can. I really want to have one on one personal interactions with the public in my job. The only thing is that over the past few years, I've become extremely interested in health policy. I've started to really think deeply about the way the healthcare system works and all the ethical problem solving that goes into systemic policy changes. When I tell friends and family I'm interested in policy, they tell me I should think about law school and doing a specialization in health law. Even though health law sounds interesting, I just don't think I'll be able to get the clinical experience I crave to have in a job. While I still want to be a doctor, I'm hoping to leave the door open for policy work. Does anyone know if there are jobs for doctors in health policy and/or what credentials you would need to work in health policy with an MD? 

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5 hours ago, sr9 said:

I'm looking to apply to Med school for fall 2021 entry - I've already written my MCAT and feel I've got a decent shot at it. I've always wanted to be a doctor as I've loved the high-pressure first aid situations that I've experienced as a Lifeguard and I enjoy scientific problem solving as well as helping people the best I can. I really want to have one on one personal interactions with the public in my job. The only thing is that over the past few years, I've become extremely interested in health policy. I've started to really think deeply about the way the healthcare system works and all the ethical problem solving that goes into systemic policy changes. When I tell friends and family I'm interested in policy, they tell me I should think about law school and doing a specialization in health law. Even though health law sounds interesting, I just don't think I'll be able to get the clinical experience I crave to have in a job. While I still want to be a doctor, I'm hoping to leave the door open for policy work. Does anyone know if there are jobs for doctors in health policy and/or what credentials you would need to work in health policy with an MD? 

just to reply briefly for now, but there is an entire field of medicine dedicated to that: 

The public health and preventive medicine physician deals with populations or groups rather than with individuals. In conjunction with other health professionals and members of the community, the public health and preventive medicine physician measures the health needs of the community and develops methods of improving levels of health.

The Public Health and Preventive Medicine Residency Program is an accredited post-graduate training program of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

That field can be obtained in conjunction with a family medicine specialization. you can obtain to help support that work an advanced grad degree in public health as well, and play a role in both treating patients and a role in public policy. 

just a thought......

 

 

Edited by rmorelan

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To add to rmorelan above, the Public Health and Preventative Medicine residency at UBC automatically includes taking a Master of Public Health degree which you can tailor to health policy by choosing your electives and practicum that way. I'm not sure if all PH&PM residencies include MPH's as part of their training, but you'd be well positioned to work in health policy either way!

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13 minutes ago, CoffeeandMedicine said:

To add to rmorelan above, the Public Health and Preventative Medicine residency at UBC automatically includes taking a Master of Public Health degree which you can tailor to health policy by choosing your electives and practicum that way. I'm not sure if all PH&PM residencies include MPH's as part of their training, but you'd be well positioned to work in health policy either way!

Someone feel free to correct this as I am not a PHPM specialist, I am just speaking from my research and what I have been told by PHPM specialists during tutorials. 

The general format of most PHPM residencies that you can find by viewing CARMS descriptions follows something like this: 

PGY1: Family medicine year

PGY2: Family medicine year

At this point you'd be able to write the CFPC exams I think and register as a family doctor. 

PGY3: Graduate degree year (seems to generally be a MPH and I believe you can also make extra money working as a family doctor if you have time)

PGY4: PHPM rotations including electives and selectives (environmental health, health promotions/chronic disease prevention, health planning/policy, communicable disease control, senior management and administration)

PGY5:  PHPM rotations including electives and selectives (environmental health, health promotions/chronic disease prevention, health planning/policy, communicable disease control, senior management and administration)

See this link for an example royal college exam for some of the questions that PHPM residents would be asked (click "sample SAQ exam"): http://www.royalcollege.ca/rcsite/documents/ibd/public_health_and_preventive_medicine_examformat_e

The vast majority of training positions in PHPM also certify you in family medicine, but there are a select few that do not (e.g., four positions across English speaking medical schools in 2020 match). I think one reality individuals have to face is that generally (there are exceptions) PHPM programs train you to work as a medical officer of health at a public health unit. This entails a significant amount of "politicking" within your local community where you will work (e.g., interacting with elected municipal council and media appearances), which may not be for everyone. I do know that some PHPM graduates will continue to work occasionally as a family doctor in a limited capacity or will hold clinics within their interest areas (e.g., tropical diseases, sexual health, STI clinic, etc.). Definitely a great option for someone who is interested in health policy and maintaining a clinical practice. However, it also possible to be involved in advocacy work which can influence policy as any other type of doctor or become involved in physician association groups (e.g., family doctor advocating for rural health, OBGYN advocating for progressive reproductive policies, etc.). You can also take a jump and transition into an elected provincial or federal MP role during your career if you want direct legislative experience...

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11 minutes ago, CGreens said:

Someone feel free to correct this as I am not a PHPM specialist, I am just speaking from my research and what I have been told by PHPM specialists during tutorials. 

The general format of most PHPM residencies that you can find by viewing CARMS descriptions follows something like this: 

PGY1: Family medicine year

PGY2: Family medicine year

At this point you'd be able to write the CFPC exams I think and register as a family doctor. 

PGY3: Graduate degree year (seems to generally be a MPH and I believe you can also make extra money working as a family doctor if you have time)

PGY4: PHPM rotations including electives and selectives (environmental health, health promotions/chronic disease prevention, health planning/policy, communicable disease control, senior management and administration)

PGY5:  PHPM rotations including electives and selectives (environmental health, health promotions/chronic disease prevention, health planning/policy, communicable disease control, senior management and administration)

See this link for an example royal college exam for some of the questions that PHPM residents would be asked (click "sample SAQ exam"): http://www.royalcollege.ca/rcsite/documents/ibd/public_health_and_preventive_medicine_examformat_e

The vast majority of training positions in PHPM also certify you in family medicine, but there are a select few that do not (e.g., four positions across English speaking medical schools in 2020 match). I think one reality individuals have to face is that generally (there are exceptions) PHPM programs train you to work as a medical officer of health at a public health unit. This entails a significant amount of "politicking" within your local community where you will work (e.g., interacting with elected municipal council and media appearances), which may not be for everyone. I do know that some PHPM graduates will continue to work occasionally as a family doctor in a limited capacity or will hold clinics within their interest areas (e.g., tropical diseases, sexual health, STI clinic, etc.). Definitely a great option for someone who is interested in health policy and maintaining a clinical practice. However, it also possible to be involved in advocacy work which can influence policy as any other type of doctor or become involved in physician association groups (e.g., family doctor advocating for rural health, OBGYN advocating for progressive reproductive policies, etc.). You can also take a jump and transition into an elected provincial or federal MP role during your career if you want direct legislative experience...

Also PHO/CDC, and the various levels of provincial/federal officers of health.decent range, but I agree, many positions require you to have many meetings with stakeholders, compromising politics with public health, etc. Very interesting interplay.  

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Wow thank you guys so much for the responses! I had never heard of that residency before but after seeing what you guys have written and doing some research myself it sounds very cool and right up my ally! Especially since I was already considering Family Medicine, it's awesome that you can become certified in it through the residency. The only thing I'm disappointed in is that Dal doesn't have PHPM as a residency (I'm Nova Scotian, hoping to get into Dal Med, and wouldn't have minded the option to stay here for residency as well). When looking at the schools that offer the PHPM residency, I see that there seems to be very few spots - does anyone know how competitive it is to get a PHPM residency or if the number of slots are correlated to the amount of interest in the field since it doesn't seem to be the most talked about?

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10 hours ago, sr9 said:

Wow thank you guys so much for the responses! I had never heard of that residency before but after seeing what you guys have written and doing some research myself it sounds very cool and right up my ally! Especially since I was already considering Family Medicine, it's awesome that you can become certified in it through the residency. The only thing I'm disappointed in is that Dal doesn't have PHPM as a residency (I'm Nova Scotian, hoping to get into Dal Med, and wouldn't have minded the option to stay here for residency as well). When looking at the schools that offer the PHPM residency, I see that there seems to be very few spots - does anyone know how competitive it is to get a PHPM residency or if the number of slots are correlated to the amount of interest in the field since it doesn't seem to be the most talked about?

This is purely anecdotal - but I'm in the MPH at UBC right now and one of my good friends is in PGY-1 in their PHPM program so he's currently in my degree program with me. He graduated from med at U of T. From what he said, the specialty doesn't seem to be super competitive because the interest is low compared to other specialties. This may change in the following years though, especially with public health professionals being thrown into the spotlight lately!

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