SMHS, Milken Institute SPH Offer Combined MD/MPH Degrees to Prepare Clinician Leaders

Man talking to woman in garden

SMHS MD student Kami Veltri speaks with Jerome Nesbitt, deputy director of nonprofit The Green Scheme, during a site visit for the Clinical Public Health Summit on Obesity.

February 15, 2018

The George Washington University’s (GW) School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) and the Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH) are joining forces to prepare clinician-leaders to help drive the changing health care landscape, improve broad health systems, promote the health of communities, and engage in scholarly inquiry. Starting in the summer of 2018, SMHS students will have the option of earning a Doctor of Medicine (MD) with a Master of Public Health (MD/MPH) degree or an MD with a Graduate Certificate in Public Health (MD/Certificate).

“At SMHS, we seek to graduate ‘clinician-citizens’ who are prepared to provide their patients with excellent clinical care and also to serve as leaders to address issues outside of the exam room that impact health locally, nationally, and globally,” said Lawrence “Bopper” Deyton, MSPH, MD ’85, senior associate dean of clinical public health and Murdock Head Professor of Medicine and Health Policy at SMHS. “Many of GW’s medical students, as well as students applying to medical school, recognize the changing health care environment and worsening health disparities, and they want to fix those problems. Many recognize that combining their medical knowledge with in-depth public health education and experiences will help them do that. The Milken Institute SPH, located close to SMHS, is one of the world’s leading schools of public health. We are delighted to join with our sister school to offer medical students additional public health education so they can become those clinician-citizens.”

Both combined programs capitalize on the MD curriculum’s inclusion of public health, population health, and health systems in its clinical public health curriculum, initiated in 2014. These programs take full advantage of GW’s location in the nation’s capital, with unique proximity to policymakers, agencies, and organizations engaged in all aspects of health and health care.

​“The MD/MPH program at GW gives students access to a world-class faculty, including those who have served in high-level public health leadership positions, as well as a hands-on education in both fields,” said Michael Lu, MD, MS, MPH, senior associate dean for academic, student, and faculty affairs at Milken Institute SPH. “An MD/MPH degree prepares students to become effective agents of change in health care and public health; it gives them the tools they need to improve the health of not only individual patients, but also communities and nations.”

The dual-degree MD/MPH program can be completed in just one additional year outside of the current medical program curriculum, with the option of choosing from 11 residential MPH programs, such as community oriented primary care, epidemiology, health policy, maternal and child health, and global environmental health. Students are required to earn 45 credits for the MPH degree; 30 credits are taken at Milken Institute SPH, while 15 are cross-credited for MD coursework that encompasses public health topics. MPH coursework may be started during the summer following either the first or third year of the MD program. Students in the MD/MPH program will be granted a one-year leave of absence from the MD program to complete the required MPH coursework and fieldwork.

The second option, the MD/Certificate, is an exciting new opportunity for students to earn a graduate certificate in public health within their four years of the MD program. To earn the 15-credit graduate certificate, students will take 10 credits at Milken Institute SPH, in addition to five credits earned through cross-credited coursework from the SMHS MD program.

For more information, please visit or or email