Educational Outcomes of a 4-Year MD-MPH Dual-Degree Program: High Completion Rates and Higher Likelihood of Primary Care Residency

Acad Med. 2022 Jun 1;97(6):894-898. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000004603. Epub 2022 May 19.


Purpose: In 2007, University of Texas Health Science Center Houston School of Public Health at San Antonio (UTHealth SPH) and UT Health San Antonio Long School of Medicine (LSOM) designed and implemented a 4-year dual MD and Master of Public Health (MPH) program. Dual MD-MPH programs wherein students can receive both degrees within 4 years are unique, and programmatic evaluation may have generalizable implications for accredited MD-MPH programs.

Method: Demographic information was collected from UTHealth SPH and LSOM student data. The primary outcome variable was MD-MPH program completion in 4 years. Comprehensive Basic Science Examination (CBSE) scores, United States Medical Licensing Examination Step 1 and Step 2 scores, and successful primary care residency match data were compared between MD-MPH and MD-only students. Family medicine, internal medicine, obstetrics-gynecology, and pediatrics were considered primary care residencies, and an analysis excluding obstetrics-gynecology was also conducted.

Results: Of 241 MD-MPH students enrolled 2007-2017, 66% were women, 22% Hispanic, and 10% African American. Four-year MD-MPH program completion occurred for 202 (93% of eligible) students; 9 (4.1%) received MD only, 3 (1.4%) received MPH only; and 4 (1.8%) received neither. MD-MPH students' median CBSE score was 2 points lower than for MD-only students (P = .035), but Step 1 and 2 scores did not differ. Primary care residency match was more likely compared with MD-only students, both including and excluding obstetrics-gynecology (odds ratio [OR]: 1.75; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.31, 2.33; and OR: 1.36; 95% CI: 1.02, 1.82, respectively).

Conclusions: The 4-year MD-MPH program retains and graduates a socioeconomically and racial/ethnically diverse group of students with a 93% success rate. MD-MPH graduates were more likely to pursue primary care residency than non-dual-degree students, which may have implications for addressing population health disparities.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internal Medicine / education
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Male
  • Primary Health Care
  • Public Health / education
  • Students, Medical*
  • United States