The Miller School is the national leader among medical schools granting dual degrees
By Damian McNamara
Illustration by Federico Gastaldi
any doctors with dual advanced degrees — such as an M.D./Ph.D. or M.D./M.B.A. combination — spend five, six or even more years earning both degrees. By contrast, an innovative approach at the Miller School of Medicine provides medical students the opportunity to graduate with dual degrees in just four years.
About 60 of its 200 graduates each year leave armed with two degrees, placing the Miller School in the No. 1 spot in the nation.
“Enabling our students to pursue additional degrees in their areas of interest aligns well with our goal of producing transformative leaders in health care,” said Latha Chandran, M.D., M.P.H., executive dean and founding chair of the Department of Medical Education at the Miller School.
“These four-year options give students a different type of training and skill set that will not only help them in applying for residencies, but also throughout their career,” added Gauri Agarwal, M.D., associate dean for curriculum at the Miller School.
The combined M.D./M.P.H. program, which started in 2011, is now the most popular dual-degree program at the University of Miami. Students learn how to care for an individual and how to take the bigger picture into account, which can make them better scientists, leaders and clinicians.
“If I understand the social determinants of a patient’s health fully — such as housing, transportation or systemic racism — and other factors that may be affecting their access to care, then I can provide that individual with a different type of care,” Dr. Agarwal said.
Other Miller School dual-degree options include an M.D./M.B.A., an M.D. with a Master of Genomics, and an M.D. with a Master of International Administration developed in conjunction with the College of Arts and Sciences. Starting soon, students will be able to apply for an M.D. with a Master of Integrative Wellbeing. A Master of Humanities and Bioethics program is also being developed.
Early data suggest the dual-degree program is paying off. Dr. Agarwal and colleagues are surveying physicians who graduated with an M.D./M.P.H. about their careers.
“Many have national or state leadership positions, and almost half are chief residents in their programs, so we’re seeing evidence of significant leadership skills,” she said.