Friday, July 24, 2015

College of Human Medicine Expanding Clinical Training Footprint with New Community Campus in Southeast Michigan

The MSU College of Human Medicine (CHM) has officially announced a pact making the Detroit-metro area the site of an additional community campus.

The college and Providence-Providence Park Hospital (PPPH) have come to an agreement that will give sixty third- and fourth-year medical students the opportunity to receive clinical training in Southfield, MI. While the new addition will be CHM's seventh clinical community campus, this will be the college's first partnership in Southeast Michigan.

Both parties agree that the partnership is a great fit with CHM's mission of providing a community-based approach to health care. Dr. Robert Flora, Providence's Director of Medical Education, says he's been impressed with CHM's "drive to help people with less access" to a good standard of health care.

“This partnership with Providence-Providence Park Hospital is the result of shared goals to educate medical students within a health care system that values quality and provides care to a diverse population of patients,” said MSU President, Lou Anna K. Simon.

In addition to Southfield, six other community campuses are sprinkled throughout the state, located in Lansing, Grand Rapids, Flint, Midland, Traverse City, and Marquette. Reaching across Michigan gives CHM students a balanced opportunity to be exposed to various types of disciplines and environments.

For instance, students wishing to pursue working with underserved and/or urban populations can study at our Flint Community Campus* while those hoping to study rural medicine can locate to any of our Northern Michigan/Upper Peninsula* campuses for their final two years. 

The college differs from many medical schools in that there are educational programs in more than 50 affiliated hospitals and facilities instead of one university hospital.

Led by a Community Assistant Dean and college faculty, each clinical campus is aligned with area hospitals and outpatient facilities that join Michigan State University in creating a rich educational environment for students.

PPPH’s Valerie Overholt, director of students, has been appointed community assistant dean for the Southeast Michigan campus.

A new simulation and education center will be opening up in mid-2016, just in time for the first group of Southeast Community Campus students to make their way to Southfield next summer.

Officials have also pointed out that, for applicants from Southeast Michigan and the Detroit-metro are in particular, this is a great opportunity to receive clinical training in your own backyard.

As PPPH-Novi President Peter Karadjoff put it, “This new effort will provide MSU’s third- and fourth-year medical students a chance to study and live in an area of the state where many come from and where we hope they’d like to return to practice medicine someday.”

*As part of our Leadership in Medicine for the Underserved Program.
**As part of our Leadership in Rural Medicine Program.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Dual-Degree Options at CHM Offer Plenty Diverse, Rich Opportunities

Sonia Kumar is a fourth-year MD/PhD student
The MSU College of Human Medicine (CHM) offers a number of special programs that are available to students with a wide range of interests. Within those programs, our dual degree options are an important part of our identity, as we work to enhance our student's abilities in the fields of both research and health policy.

There are two dual-degree options for applicants to consider—MD/PhD and MD/MPH.

The Director of the US National Institutes of Health and former head of the Human Genome Project, Francis S. Collins, is a physician-geneticist who recently published a piece titled, "Why the World Needs More Scientists." It's a good read.

Collins says he's "convinced that rigorous, well-designed research is essential not only for the discovery of new ways to detect, treat, and prevent disease, but also for the most efficient development and cost-effective dissemination of such advances to the world's poorest peoples."

He adds, "The remarkable progress made in genomics, bioengineering, and many other scientific fields over the past decade has given rise to innovative technologies now being used to help many different populations in many different settings."

Well-designed research and innovative ways of thinking are what drives our MD/PhD program, combining medical and graduate education with the goal of training the next generation of leaders in medical research and academic medicine.

Every effort is made to integrate medical and graduate training while fostering flexibility for the individual student. The College of Human Medicine's MD/PhD program offers a level of flexibility that is an attractive feature in comparison to other programs across the country.

"We do not restrict our applicants to just biomedical science PhD programs. We encourage and try to facilitate application and matriculation into any program, so long as the student intends to do research with a link to the practice of medicine," says Cindy Arvidson, PhD, Program Director for the MD/PhD program at CHM.

"An advantage of CHM being at the same physical location as the main MSU campus is that MD/PhD students have numerous opportunities for their PhD research. MSU is a research-intensive land grant institution known for its many excellent graduate programs. In addition, the expansion of CHM to Grand Rapids and the partnership with Spectrum Health has helped the Grand Rapids medical community to increase its biomedical research visibility."

Current non-traditional programs students have matriculated into are: epidemiology, linguistics, and kinesiology. We have also considered applicants to other programs that include philosophy, anthropology, psychology, and chemistry.

 Our MD/PhD program has two options:

The first is the CHM-MSU MD/PhD program, in which the student earns an MD degree from CHM and a PhD from the MSU Graduate School. This program is supported by funds provided by Spectrum Health. Students admitted with financial support (Spectrum Health Fellows) are assigned to the Grand Rapids community campus for their clinical training.

Secchia Center stands near the Van Andel Institute in Grand Rapids
The second is the CHM-VAIGS MD/PhD program, where the student earns an MD degree from CHM and a PhD from the Van Andel Institute Graduate School (VAIGS).

Regardless of what direction a student takes, CHM staff and faculty are in close contact to ensure the students are supported in every way.  Dr. Arvidson adds that a small program such as ours is beneficial in that that there is as much individual attention as the student needs.

As Collins puts it, "We need far more young creative minds—be they in Boston or Botswana, Beijing or Bangladesh—to tap into the power of science to explore questions of vital importance to human health."

To learn more about whether an MD/PhD is right for you, see Applying to MD/PhD Programs via the Association of American Medical Colleges website.

Whereas medical students focus on individual patient care, public health students study health issues in regards to populations. With technological evolution making the world a much smaller space, public health workers are increasingly working more with issues on a global scale, spreading awareness against diseases such as Ebola, avian flu, etc.

Yet while medicine and public health can operate as separate entities, both naturally share interest in promoting and protecting health. And with reforms to the health care industry as well as to medical school curricula, the gaps are closing. Medical schools are now emphasizing public health more than ever.

At the College of Human Medicine, training toward the combined MD/MPH degrees complement each other and provide health care professionals with greater understanding of health issues. Beyond a better understanding, the MPH offers students better tools to analyze and prevent human diseases.

Students apply to both CHM and the MSU Graduate School.  Information regarding the MPH application process can be found on the Program in Public Health website. If accepted into both programs, the student has two options for earning their dual degree.

In both options, students work with their CHM and MPH advisors to develop a curriculum plan that supports their studies in both areas. Students complete the culminating experience portion of their MPH coursework during an elective clerkship at the end of their studies.

Ultimately, a MPH helps MDs who are interested in also getting associated with public health and to contribute to society through this system.

Someone with an MD/MPH can even go beyond health organizations, public health administration, and the fields of medicine into other important realms, such as politics, to influence how health policies are utilized.

Referring back to Collins' piece, he points out, "Scientific research is the engine that drives health advances. If future world leaders would keep that simple concept in mind when making decisions about where and how to invest their resources, the health of humankind would improve substantially over the next 50 years and beyond."

Those "world leaders" can be themselves, or at least influenced by, those with a background in health policy. Increasing awareness of public healthcare and more government investment in public health, there is a growing future for those who opt for this route.

Check out the Public Health Pathways page via the Association of American Medical Colleges.

Entry Update: We've updated this blog entry to include a third dual-degree program. The MD/MBA Program was introduced in August 2015. 

An MBA provides management training that enhances physicians' understanding of the larger impact the business of healthcare has on patient care. While trained physicians diagnose and treat human disease, they also run the hospitals, medical units, or other health-related businesses.

This dual degree option offers essential skills physicians will need when opening a private practice or starting a business. But additional career options for MD/MBA students range widely.

For instance, one can do some consulting for medical equipment or pharmaceutical companies. Directing a public healthcare agency or other medical departments is certainly also possibility. This all comes at a time when roles for physicians have expanded further into administrative positions and committee seats.

Ultimately, that precisely is the benefit of such a program—it introduces more possibilities, encourages entrepreneurship, and can influence career paths beyond research and patient care.

The dual MD/MBA degree at Michigan State University takes five years to complete after formally enrolling in both the College of Human Medicine and the Eli Broad College of Business. The curriculum for the program at CHM will naturally include MD coursework and MBA coursework, but will also include online concentration coursework.


The MSU College of Human Medicine is proud to offer these dual degree features and are currently working to provide even more dual-degree options.

Students earning dual degrees gain comprehensive expertise and experience in areas that are essential to the continued development of perspectives, programs and services in health, which is why they are an important part of CHM's footprint.