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Preventive Medicine and Mental Health in Communities


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Hello Premed101,

Last summer, I 'made up my mind' that I'd pursue a career as an MD, but that I would be deviating from the originally-projected oncology route (i.e. the dreams of an 18-year-old Excel-erate Your Breath
) and aim for something closer to psychiatry/neurology. Looking back, I can see that I was not mature enough to handle the rejection that often comes with being a Canadian medical school applicant, and my claims that I was no longer impassioned by such a career path were really rooted in thoughts of "I do not want to be rejected again."

Having grown from that experience, I've taken the time to identify more concretely the general type of field that I want to dedicate my career to. I'd like to do something in the field of health, with the role of medication in one's health being a central piece of focus in my field. More specifically, I think it would be very rewarding to pursue a career that is preventive in nature and focuses on mental health problems specifically (especially those that are more severe in nature with respect to affecting daily well-being and functioning). I would like my work to somehow help people who are at high-risk for developing such health problems to 'steer away' from that course, which will likely require a combination of both environmental (ex. referrals to counselling, the development of systemic changes in communities, etc. many factors) and medical measures. This is not to say that I wouldn't like to work with people already experiencing severe problems - rather, I'd like my work to involve working with both types of populations.

So, I sit here with ideas brewing of preventive medicine and mental health in communities. Trying to rack my brain for the appropriate career path to apply to. Natural instincts scream "MD!", and perhaps they are right. I will indeed be applying to MD schools for the upcoming cycle. Intuitively, it feels that there are indeed other paths that could lead me to my goals, though. Some of these paths would be more focused on the research side of things, and others will be focused more purely on the applied side. I think that I would like a healthy mix of both, but definitely leaning more towards the applied side than the research side. Not a 100-0 split, but not a 50-50 split either.

Several fields other than medicine thus start to emerge: some health psychology labs would fit my criteria, a Master's in Public Health might, some clinical psychology labs might, and so on.

To me, it feels like I would want to truly 'make up my mind' and focus on a specific path rather than applying to many schooling types at once. This is partly why I did not apply to any schooling other than med school this past year as well.

TLDR: med school seems like the best fit for wanting to work in the field of preventive medicine with a focus on mental health in communities, but is there some other path to this goal that I am overlooking that is perhaps a better fit? I don't think so, but just making sure?


Thank you all,
Excel-erate Your Breath

 

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There's lots of paths to "preventative health" or "community health care" but if you're interested in being involved with medications you're going to be restricted to the professional fields, specifically MD, pharmacy, or nursing (I think?). If you're ok with leaving the medication side behind then that opens a lot more options from the traditional "allied health" of social work, physical/psychological therapy, nutritionist, etc. to more population based stuff with public health/health policy/community organization.

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On 5/6/2021 at 12:49 PM, Excel-erate Your Breath said:

Hello Premed101,

Last summer, I 'made up my mind' that I'd pursue a career as an MD, but that I would be deviating from the originally-projected oncology route (i.e. the dreams of an 18-year-old Excel-erate Your Breath
) and aim for something closer to psychiatry/neurology. Looking back, I can see that I was not mature enough to handle the rejection that often comes with being a Canadian medical school applicant, and my claims that I was no longer impassioned by such a career path were really rooted in thoughts of "I do not want to be rejected again."

Having grown from that experience, I've taken the time to identify more concretely the general type of field that I want to dedicate my career to. I'd like to do something in the field of health, with the role of medication in one's health being a central piece of focus in my field. More specifically, I think it would be very rewarding to pursue a career that is preventive in nature and focuses on mental health problems specifically (especially those that are more severe in nature with respect to affecting daily well-being and functioning). I would like my work to somehow help people who are at high-risk for developing such health problems to 'steer away' from that course, which will likely require a combination of both environmental (ex. referrals to counselling, the development of systemic changes in communities, etc. many factors) and medical measures. This is not to say that I wouldn't like to work with people already experiencing severe problems - rather, I'd like my work to involve working with both types of populations.

So, I sit here with ideas brewing of preventive medicine and mental health in communities. Trying to rack my brain for the appropriate career path to apply to. Natural instincts scream "MD!", and perhaps they are right. I will indeed be applying to MD schools for the upcoming cycle. Intuitively, it feels that there are indeed other paths that could lead me to my goals, though. Some of these paths would be more focused on the research side of things, and others will be focused more purely on the applied side. I think that I would like a healthy mix of both, but definitely leaning more towards the applied side than the research side. Not a 100-0 split, but not a 50-50 split either.

Several fields other than medicine thus start to emerge: some health psychology labs would fit my criteria, a Master's in Public Health might, some clinical psychology labs might, and so on.

To me, it feels like I would want to truly 'make up my mind' and focus on a specific path rather than applying to many schooling types at once. This is partly why I did not apply to any schooling other than med school this past year as well.

TLDR: med school seems like the best fit for wanting to work in the field of preventive medicine with a focus on mental health in communities, but is there some other path to this goal that I am overlooking that is perhaps a better fit? I don't think so, but just making sure?


Thank you all,
Excel-erate Your Breath

 

Public health and preventive medicine for sure...

or do an MPH or PhD in a public health discipline.... health promotion, health policy and management, health care planning, environmental health, epidemiology, etc... then work in a public health organization and climb the ranks to lead your section in public health 

or do a Masters in Clinical Psychology, Counselling, etc if you want to practice specifically within psychology. 

 

Note that you can do other additional training on top of what I described... I'm going for my additional training in counselling right now as well as planning to do a degree in either masters of medical, health promotion, or general education. 

- G 

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