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Sunday, 24 May 2015 22:00

MSU to offer joint degree in osteopathic medicine and business

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In launching a joint degree this fall in osteopathic medicine and business, Michigan State University seeks to produce better doctors.

MSU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine and Broad College of Business are teaming up on the program that would allow select students to earn a joint degree in osteopathic medicine and a master of business administration.

By incorporating the two programs, the colleges believe that medical students can benefit from the analytical and critical-thinking skills they will learn through MBA courses.

Although the metrics are different, both medicine and business “have a lot of overlap in how you critically approach problems analytically,” said Donald Sefcik, senior associate dean of MSU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine.

“We’re not teaching physicians necessarily how to run practices or how to look at business. We’re teaching physicians from one perspective on how to analyze data and use different metrics to analyze and understand things that I think are transferrable to the medical side of the house,” said Sefcik, a D.O. with an MBA. “They’ll not only be better equipped to handle the financial and other aspects of managing patient care, but a default part of that will be that they’ll actually be better physicians because they do think from a critical-reasoning perspective a little differently than they would without the MBA added on top of their training.

“My hope is that we produce physicians who are not only better physicians at the end of the day but are better positioned to have an impact on where health care goes with a skillset that will make them influential leaders in the future.”

The MBA portion of the joint degree will specialize in management, strategy and leadership. The colleges designed the program for completion in five years in a way that won’t disrupt the medical instruction and that front-loads the MBA courses, he said.

The joint degree program will have a select enrollment. Sefcik expects just five to 10 students to earn entry into the program annually. About 300 students enter the College of Osteopathic Medicine each year.

“We’d like a little selectivity to make sure we get the kind of folks who can handle this load because it’s going to be a bit more than business or medicine. By combining the two, it’s going to be more than an additive load and it’s going to be a bit more challenging,” he said. “We want to make sure we have the right people, for the right reasons, with the right skillsets that we want to give this opportunity to and have them come out successful on the other end.”

As the College of Osteopathic Medicine prepares to launch the program, MSU’s College of Human Medicine is looking at a similar partnership with the Broad College of Business that would start in 2016.

The College of Human Medicine’s Curriculum Committee has endorsed the joint degree, said Aron Sousa, the college’s senior associate dean for academic affairs.

Offering a joint degree can better prepare College of Human Medicine students to take on leadership positions in their careers, whether at a large group medical practice or a hospital, as health care becomes an increasingly complex business.

“There’s no doubt the technical issues of running a practice now are different than they used to be,” Sousa said. “We are interested in physicians who are ready to be leaders.”

As with the College of Osteopathic Medicine, Sousa expects enrollment in the College of Human Medicine’s joint degree program with the business school will take on a limited number of students.

The College of Human Medicine has a capacity of 840 students and annually admits up to 200 new students at campuses in Grand Rapids and East Lansing.

Read 5259 times Last modified on Sunday, 07 June 2015 23:31

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