The Need For Professional Doctors Of Public Health
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The Need For Professional Doctors Of Public Health

  • 02/01/1986

  • Source: Public Health Rep. 101(1):21-29
Filetype[PDF-1.67 MB]



  • Alternative Title:
    Public Health Rep
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    Planning, organizing, and operating today's complex health care systems or heading Federal, State, and city public health agencies in the U.S. and other countries require professionals broadly prepared in the meaning, philosophy, and strategies of public health. It is and has been recognized that the best trained clinical physician could not be expected to know the policies and practices of official public health programs. The chief health official of a State or other jurisdiction, for example, deals with the epidemiology of many diseases; with all aspects of the environment; with hospitals, drugs, health manpower, and nutrition; with issues of health economics, finance, and politics; and with administration. For these tasks, most of medical education is irrelevant. To produce the needed specialists, candidates with a BA degree would be educated as doctors of public health. The proposed 5-year postgraduate curriculum is as demanding as the training for the MD degree, but completely different. The 38 subjects or courses in the curriculum are grouped into four categories: basic tools of social analysis, health and disease in populations, protection of health and prevention of disease, and health care systems and management. At present, MPH degree holders take only a handful of core and elective courses and emerge with little systematic knowledge about the majority of problems they face. The DrPH candidates at schools of public health spend most of their time on research and dissertation writing--adequate preparation for university teachers, but academia is not the goal of most candidates, nor the greatest need of society. Recruits for the proposed new doctorate in public health may be found among the thousands of young people who want to do "community health work" but see no way to play a significant role without getting an MD degree first.
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