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Path of Distinction in Public Health

Students who are interested in taking their public health interest to the next level should consider the MD-MPH Dual Degree Program. The director of the program, Dr. Dipesh Navsaria, describes the value of the dual degree option and how he incorporates his interest in advocacy into his clinical work.


The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health offers the Path of Distinction in Public Health. The purpose of this educational program is to help organize existing - and develop new - courses and service-learning experiences for medical students who are seeking ways to better integrate medicine and public health.


The new Path of Distinction is supported through a 5-year grant from HRSA, entitled Prevention Innovations in Medical Education (PRIME) that integrates public health into the curriculum for all medical and physician assistant (PA) students and supports the MD-MPH dual degree program. It was approved by the Educational Policy Council in December 2012, and the program officially began in January 2013.


Medical students who participate in the Path of Distinction will:

  • Complete at least 6 credits, including the required 1-credit PHS 712 Leadership in Medicine and Public Health course, along with additional public health coursework throughout medical school
  • Identify and work with a project mentor to complete a project related to their preferred area(s) of interest
  • Complete a scholarly paper (within three months of project completion) to be approved by the PoD faculty director
  • Present scholarly paper or poster at a relevant symposium
  • Be recognized as having completed the Path of Distinction in their Dean’s letter
  • Have credits that will easily transfer to the MD-MPH Dual Degree Program

Students who complete the Path of Distinction will be expected to be able to demonstrate the following competencies:

  • Demonstrate a systems-based approach to improving the health of populations
  • Draw upon community assets and system resources to improve the health of populations
  • Serve as an advocate to promote the health of populations
  • Effectively convey evidenced-based health practices, programs and policies to a variety of audiences
  • Bridge cultural and health literacy gaps to minimize disparities and optimize health outcomes
  • Integrate population-based strategies to influence health determinants and outcomes
  • Access and appraise the most relevant evidence from multiple sources to address important population-based questions
  • Counsel and educate patients and populations about health conditions, disease prevention and management and community resources to meet health needs

Students who participate in the Path of Distinction may focus on any area, such as urban health, rural health, global health, healthcare quality, health disparities, and health policy. The Path of Distinction is not intended to compete with existing School of Medicine and Public Health programs, rather, it provides a framework to connect existing efforts, and provide students with a more organized and coordinated way to take advantage of these diverse opportunities.


We look forward to working with students and faculty interested in integrating medicine and public health. Please contact any of us if you have any questions or suggestions. For more information about the Path of Distinction, please contact us at

Path of Distinction in Public Health

Last updated: 09/08/2016
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