Dual Degrees Becoming More Popular for Med Students

Apr 24, 2012, 1:08 PM

As the health care system moves away from traditional practice models and relies increasingly on medical homes, accountable care organizations and more, prospective physicians see advantages to something else that breaks with traditional: dual degrees.

Data from the Association of American Medical Colleges shows that enrollment in MD/PhD, MD/JD and MD/MBA dual-degree programs increased 36 percent between 2002 and 2011, American Medical News reports. Students are simultaneously pursuing advanced degrees in such areas as public health, law, business administration, mass communications and the sciences. MD/PhD degree programs are the most popular, followed by MD/MBA.

“These are students who view health care in a way that is bigger than the traditional practice model,” Stan Kozakowski, MD, director of medical education at the American Academy of Family Physicians, told American Medical News. “They see the dual degree as providing them with a competitive advantage as they go into the workplace.”

While the additional skills can prove beneficial, students should carefully consider the additional time and cost for these programs, experts say. Depending on the specific program, students can spend an additional nine years earning dual degrees, American Medical News reports.

What do you think? Are dual degrees beneficial to physicians and to the patients for whom they care? What degrees do you think are most helpful for them in today’s health care system? Register below to leave a comment.

Read the American Medical News story.

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF Human Capital Blog. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors.