The role of a doctor is rapidly changing as the healthcare system in the U.S. changes. Organizations are looking at new models of care delivery, and doctors are key players in making sure the patients benefit. Students at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA are encouraged to look beyond their medical degree and pursue additional educational opportunities.
Building a foundation as physicians and leaders
These dual-degree super students often have goals of becoming practicing physicians as well as leaders who change the way care is delivered. Jeff Fujimoto decided during his third year of medical school that he wanted to pursue a Master of Business Administration (MBA). He hopes the combination will help him be a more effective physician and an "agent of change."
"During rotations in my third year, I began seeing some of the systemic inefficiencies that led to poor healthcare delivery, worse patient outcomes and wasted cost," he says. "With an MD-MBA, I want to learn not only how to provide excellent clinical care but also improve the system in which care is delivered."
Likewise, Brandon Scott is pursuing an MBA at the UCLA Anderson School of Management to help him become a physician who can also improve healthcare delivery.
"The master's degree allows me to learn more management skills to grow as a physician leader to speak both languages to ultimately improve how we deliver care," he says.
Resources at UCLA
The David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA offers many resources for super students interested in a master's from dedicated programs such as the PRIME program to scholarships and advising.
"The school ... has been incredible in its support of my decision to pursue a dual degree," Fujimoto says.
Both Fujimoto and Scott received the Dean's Leaders in Health and Science Scholarship, which provides them with tuition and living expenses during the master's program.
"I have received great advice within the medical school on getting a dual degree," Scott says. "The business school has also worked with me to shape what I learn to match my career goals."
Most students apply for a master's in their third year of medical school. Once accepted, the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA grants the student a leave of absence. Students can complete a one-year master's program or an articulated program, completing master's coursework during the fourth year of medical school.
Scott chose to get the master's degree concurrently with his MD to apply those skills immediately. He says he has been able to apply what he's learning in business school to care delivery projects he's completing in medical school.
"I don't have to wait to play a role in how we improve care," Scott says. "I can use my educational foundation as a student and later as a resident and then as a practicing physician."
By Patricia Chaney