Does having a Master of Public Health (MPH) improve physician assistants’ ability to address the social determinants of health in their clinical practice?
Social Determinants of Health,
Vol. 6 (2020),
14 July 2020
Background: There is mounting evidence that clinicians need to address the social determinants of heath (SDOH) in their practice. Physician Assistants (PAs) who complete a joint degree with a Master of Public Health (MPH) may be able to address the SDOH in their practice better than those who do not have the degree. The primary aim of this study was to determine whether or not having a Master in Public Health (MPH) improves PAs’ ability to address the SDOH in their clinical practice.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted with 25 practicing PAs who were jointly trained with the MPH degree and 32 practicing PAs who were not jointly trained. An online survey was administered to a gather SDOH knowledge, attitude and behavior data using an adapted 13-item SDOH scale.
Results: This study found that jointly trained PA/MPH clinicians reported significantly more perceived knowledge about SDOH (37.6 vs 31.1; P = .028), were more likely to identify SDOHs as important to their patients’ health (38.6 vs 32.9; P = .035), were more likely to intend to address SDOH with their patients’ (29.7 vs 23.5; P = .031) and reported feeling more comfortable talking about SDOH with their patients (3.75 vs 3.2; P = .05) despite no significant differences in reported barriers to addressing SDOH.
Conclusion: These findings suggest that joint clinical training with the MPH can positively impact PAs ability to address the SDOH in their clinical work and lays the groundwork for future research.
- Master of Public Health
- Physician Assistants
- Social Determinants of Health
How to Cite
Clarke JL, Bourn S, Skoufalos A, Beck EH, Castillo DJ. An innovative approach to health care delivery for patients with chronic conditions. Popul Health Manag. 2017;20(1):23-30. doi:10.1089/pop.2016.0076
Kuluski K, Ho JW, Hans PK, Nelson ML. Community care for people with complex care needs: bridging the gap between health and social care. Int J Integr Care. 2017;17(4):2. doi:10.5334/ijic.2944
Kickbusch I. The health society: importance of the new policy proposal by the EU Commission on health and consumer affairs. Health Promot Int. 2005;20(2):101-103. doi:10.1093/heapro/dai016
Gillam S, Maudsley G. Public health education for medical students: rising to the professional challenge. J Public Health Oxf Engl. 2010;32(1):125-131. doi:10.1093/pubmed/fdp108
Hill A. Empathy: the first step to improving health outcomes. Health Aff Blog. February 2014. doi:10.1377/hblog20140225.037133
Cooper SP, McCormick JB, Chappell CL, et al. Texas needs physicians trained in public health: a new 4-year integrated MD/MPH degree program. Tex Med. 2010;106(4):e1.
Farahangiz S, Salehi A, Rezaee R, Imanieh MH. Assessment of students’ perspectives about Master of Public Health program in medical school of Shiraz University. J Adv Med Educ Prof. 2016;4(1):39-43.
Rosenberg SN. A survey of physicians who studied public health during medical school. Am J Prev Med. 1998;14(3):184-188. doi:10.1016/s0749-3797(97)00065-2
Varkey P, Billings ML, Matthews GA, Voigt RG. The power of collaboration: integrating a preventive medicine–public health curriculum into a pediatric residency. Am J Prev Med. 2011;41(4, S3):S314-S316. doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2011.05.022
Institute of Medicine. Who Will Keep the Public Healthy? Educating Public Health Professionals for the 21st Century. Washington, DC: National Academies Press; 2003.
Stellman JM, Cohen S, Rosenfield A. Evaluation of a one-year Masters of Public Health program for medical students between their third and fourth years. Acad Med J Assoc Am Med Coll. 2008;83(4):365-370. doi:10.1097/01.ACM.0b013e318166af00
Artiga S, Hinton E. Beyond Health Care: The Role of Social Determinants in Promoting Health and Health Equity. The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. https://www.kff.org/disparities-policy/issue-brief/beyond-health-care-the-role-of-social-determinants-in-promoting-health-and-health-equity/. Published May 10, 2018. Accessed November 1, 2018.
Healthy People 2020. Social Determinants of Health. https://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/topics-objectives/topic/social-determinants-of-health. Published 2014. Accessed November 1, 2018.
Maeshiro R. Responding to the challenge: population health education for physicians. Acad Med J Assoc Am Med Coll. 2008;83(4):319-320. doi:10.1097/ACM.0b013e318166ae9f
McNeil R, Guirguis-Younger M, Dilley LB, Turnbull J, Hwang SW. Learning to account for the social determinants of health affecting homeless persons. Med Educ. 2013;47(5):485-494. doi:10.1111/medu.12132
O’Brien MJ, Garland JM, Murphy KM, Shuman SJ, Whitaker RC, Larson SC. Training medical students in the social determinants of health: the Health Scholars Program at Puentes de Salud. Adv Med Educ Pract. 2014;5:307-314. doi:10.2147/AMEP.S67480
Ruis AR, Golden RN. The schism between medical and public health education: a historical perspective. Acad Med J Assoc Am Med Coll. 2008;83(12):1153-1157. doi:10.1097/ACM.0b013e31818c6583
Harris R, Kinsinger LS, Tolleson-Rinehart S, Viera AJ, Dent G. The MD-MPH program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Acad Med J Assoc Am Med Coll. 2008;83(4):371-377. doi:10.1097/ACM.0b013e318166a848
Holtzman CW, Sifontis NM. Pharmacy students’ perspectives on a PharmD/MPH dual degree program at a large metropolitan school of pharmacy. Pharm Pract. 2014;12(1):359. doi:10.4321/s1886-36552014000100003
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook: Physician Assistants. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/physician-assistants.htm. Accessed September 14, 2019.
Carr MF, Bergman BA. Establishing a framework for a physician assistant/bioethics dual degree program. J Physician Assist Educ. 2014;25(3):15.
Cawley JF, Ritsema TS, Brown D, et al. Assessing the value of dual physician assistant/public health degrees. J Physician Assist Educ Off J Physician Assist Educ Assoc. 2011;22(3):23-28. doi:10.1097/01367895-201122030-00003
Persaud S. Addressing social determinants of health through advocacy. Nurs Adm Q. 2018;42(2):123-128. doi:10.1097/NAQ.0000000000000277
Klein MD, Kahn RS, Baker RC, Fink EE, Parrish DS, White DC. Training in social determinants of health in primary care: does it change resident behavior? Acad Pediatr. 2011;11(5):387-393. doi:10.1016/j.acap.2011.04.004
Patel M, Bathory E, Scholnick J, White-Davis T, Choi J, Braganza S. Resident documentation of social determinants of health: effects of a teaching tool in the outpatient setting. Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2018;57(4):451-456. doi:10.1177/0009922817728697
Laff M. How can physicians use data on social determinants of health? AAFP News. March 2016. https://www.aafp.org/news/health-of-the-public/20160316socialdeterminants.html. Accessed November 1, 2018.
Angerer-Fuenzalida F. Quality and importance of health policy, reform, and public health topics: a study in physician assistant education. J Physician Assist Educ. 2018;29(2):89-98. doi:10.1097/JPA.0000000000000202
Andermann A. Taking action on the social determinants of health in clinical practice: a framework for health professionals. CMAJ. 2016;188(17-18):E474-E483. doi:10.1503/cmaj.160177
- Abstract Viewed: 106 times
- PDF Downloaded: 105 times