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Patient-centered care with a community approach

For Jervon Wright, pursuing a medical degree has always been a life goal and he recently decided that he would specialize in radiology. Wright determined that he needed to pair his Doctorate in Medicine (MD) with a Master of Public Health (MPH) so that he would be prepared for the future of imaging, screenings and community health.

“I decided to pursue my MPH so that I can acquire the skills that will allow me to connect the technological advancements in imaging with the determinants of health in order to make impactful change,” Wright said. “For example, ultrasounds have developed substantially over the last 10 years and are now available as handheld, portable machines. This technology is a valuable and cost-effective diagnostic tool that, with widespread implementation, has the potential to improve health outcomes in low-resource settings.”

Already three years into his medical training, Wright is the first student to take the opportunity of getting his MPH during his medical degree course work, which is thanks to a new partnership between the Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work and the Herbert Wertheim School of Medicine Wright has been able to seamlessly use his fourth year to complete the accelerated MPH program with a concentration in Epidemiology.

Combining a public health degree that understands changing global health trends with a doctorate in medicine gives students the tools to perform at the highest levels of the medical field. The emphasis on patient-centered care that the MD provides gives students the knowledge to heal and assist individuals, while the MPH provides the expertise to handle widespread population health and diseases.

The MPH is also an opportunity for Wright to receive exposure to research design, biostatistics, and critical appraisal; all areas that he believes will bolster his expertise when it comes to interpreting data and developing his own studies. Knowledge of the health care system will also give him the power to recognize what changes to policy are necessary for the benefit of the public’s health. 

“Earning my MPH offers me the ability to be better equipped when collaborating with public health officials, something I believe will be crucial in developing future relationships, particularly between public health and radiology,” he added. “It is also important to me that I fully understand the healthcare system so that I will be prepared to advocate for patients, especially those underserved or with limited access.”

Wright believes that his MPH will tie-in well with the future of radiology, especially for rural areas that do not always have easy access to hospitals and in assessing population health, based on imaging and the use of databases, mapping areas where diseases are most prevalent. This can give medical and public health professionals the opportunity to create targeted intervention strategies.

“With imaging being used across all specialties, we are building a database of sorts for imaging as it pertains to disease. I believe that in the future we will be able to use commonalities or differences found in medical databases and imaging findings amongst populations to establish patterns in disease – allowing us to make well-informed public health decisions,” Wright said. “Additionally, as access to radiological services in underserved areas increases through virtual radiology and increasing number and affordability of imaging modalities, we will be more capable of reaching, screening, and treating vulnerable populations.”

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