• A call for dual degrees: Medicine and Law

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    TERESITA TANHUECO-TUMAPON

    Last of 3 parts
    LAST week, we presented models of dual/double degrees, giving examples of pairing together bachelor degrees such as in arts and sciences with an education degree either for high school (AB-BSE) or elementary (AB-BEEd) or early childhood (AB-ECE) teaching. This are more properly labeled as “concurrent-education programs” simultaneously enrolled in and common in Canada, Australia and increasingly becoming popular in Hong Kong. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doubledegree> Let’s look into the curricula of paired degrees which as we wrote are invariably labeled as combined, conjoint, joint, simultaneous degree, or double graduation program. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doubledegree

    Models of dual degrees in medicine (MD).Dual degrees in MD popularly pair with translational science research, biological sciences, population/public health and business. MD-MPH “prepare students to address new and evolving challenges at the intersection of Public Health and Medicine.” This model expectedly integrates an expanded view of public health covering both “individual and population health.” An example is that of a dual degree at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine and the Graduate School. Students are prepared to pursue a “generalist option or concentrate on community health research, epidemiology, or global health.” Courses include “behavioral sciences, management, epidemiology, and environmental health sciences.” The program is designed to develop “public health professionals” . . . “address new and evolving challenges at the intersection of public health and medicine.” Graduate students are “trained for a variety of professional roles in public health, clinical care and health research.” Some MD courses count as MPH electives allowing the dual degree to be completed in four years. At Harvard, a dual degree in medicine and public health is designed to give doctors “an education in disease prevention and control, social and health policies, global health issues, food policies and ethical issues in public health administration.” In the MD/MBA dual degree, graduates are expected “to provide the informed leadership necessary for innovation and progress at the intersection of medicine and business.”<https://www.hcp.med.harvard.edu/education/md/mba-program>. NYU’s MD-MBAprogram is designed for “aspiring physicians who wish to become leaders in the business of medicine, with the ultimate goal of improving patient care and outcomes.” It equips its graduates “with the skills needed to develop business and management strategies in physician practices, hospital units, and entire healthcare organizations.”<https://med.nyu.edu/education/ md-degree/dual-md…/md-mba-general-management>.Yale University’s School of Medicine offers 12 double degrees “in collaboration with the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and the Schools of Management, Forestry and Environmental Studies, Divinity and Law.” The variety of degrees paired with medicine demonstrates the university’s recognition of the fact that “issues related to health intersect with every aspect of civic life and that the study of medicine is not limited to patient care and biomedical science.” These dual/double degrees with medicine enable students “to study the role medicine plays within the broader context of other academic specialties.”<medicine.yale.edu/edu/degree-programs.aspx>.

    Dual degrees in law. Like medicine proper, which is a post-baccalaureate degree, law proper has been paired with specialties on the masters and the doctoral levels. The more common law degree in the Philippines (except for several Philippine HEIs) is an LLB, not a juris doctor (JD). JD graduates, after passing the bar, can practice law. Twelve specialties on the master level and one on the doctoral level are offered at the University of Michigan. The PhD is in economics. JD pair with master programs in business administration, natural resources, public health, public policy, social work, urban and regional planning, and world politics, besides region-focused such as Chinese, Japanese, and African Studies, etc. Beginning in sophomore year of law proper leading to the JD, courses for the specific master degree paired with JD, are enrolled in. Twelve JD credits can be accepted for the master program, thus reducing the time to four, rather than five years to complete both degrees.<https://www.law.umich.edu/curriculum/dualdegrees/Pages/default.aspx>

    Dual degree in law and medicine. The School of Law and the School of Medicine at the University of Virginia offer a dual-degree program (JD-MD) which could be completed in six instead of the seven years that would be required if each degree were completed separately. A program committee composed of advisers from the Schools of Law and Medicine faculties, designated by the respective deans, administer the program. Like other dual/double degree programs, cross crediting of courses is allowed but not courses completed outside of the dual degree. Twelve credits can be drawn from MD for the JD. Similarly, eight weeks of credit consisting of four law courses drawn from an approved list (as determined by the program committee) completes the MD electives program students have to pass successfully. <http://www.law.virginia.edu/html/ academics/jdmd.htm>. At Yale’s School of Law, JD may pair with a master degree program in the arts, environmental management or business administration or with a doctoral degree such as a PhD in Finance. This latter dual/double degree is intended “for students wishing to pursue a career in business law teaching.”<https://law.yale.edu/study-law-yale/degree-programs/joint-degrees>

    From the foregoing examples, it is obvious that in our century “the notion that individual departments or disciplines are silos standing apart from each other on the academic landscape is…no longer tenable.” Increasing interconnectedness of the disciplines can better serve the complexity of 21st century living both of an individual and population levels. As has been stressed, “The university of yesterday, today and tomorrow is in the people-building business, and that central mission will endure.”<https://about.usc.edu/presidentemeritus/speeches/the-research-uni versity-of-the-21st-century-what-will-it-look-like/>.

    Email: ttumapon@liceo.edu.ph

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