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Washington University School of Medicine is expanding its Master of Population Health Sciences (MPHS) degree program to offer three concentrations: clinical epidemiology, health services and quantitative methods. 

The program, for physicians, residents, clinical fellows and medical students, provides training in population-based research methods, including the advanced skills needed to design clinical outcomes research, interpret results and apply findings to improve clinical effectiveness. The curriculum also emphasizes the skills clinicians need to lead research programs, clinical departments and institutions. The 10-month program, with an option for part-time study, is taught by faculty members from many disciplines within the School of Medicine. 

“This is designed to give clinicians the skills to address the effectiveness and impact of clinical interventions to improve health in the population,” says the program’s director, Graham Colditz, MD, DrPH, the Niess-Gain Professor of Surgery, professor of medicine and associate director of prevention and control at Siteman Cancer Center. 

Alison Whelan, MD, senior associate dean for education and professor of medicine, says the program’s graduates will lead studies that answer the questions most important to the school’s patients and community. 

“Questions like what is the best medicine or dose of medicine for my condition? Does a promising new cancer detection test really save lives? What is the real impact of a change in diet on a change in health?” Whelan says. “This degree will take us one step closer to leading across the entire continuum of health-care research: from new discoveries in the science lab to new treatments for the people we care for.” 

With no research thesis/capstone requirements, MPHS students are able to deepen their learning by focusing on the long-term application of skills for future research endeavors. Using topics relevant to their careers and interests, the applied coursework allows MPHS students to practice the art of developing research study protocols, performing systematic reviews, designing epidemiologic studies and more. 

The program includes core courses in ethical and regulatory issues in clinical research, statistics, epidemiology and biostatistics. Electives range from randomized controlled trials to comparative effectiveness research to principles of shared decision making and health literacy in the clinical setting, and more. Full-tuition scholarships are available.
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