New dual degree prepares physicians for global health careers

Author: Sarah Craig

Eck Institute for Global Health

The University of Notre Dame’s Eck Institute for Global Health and the Indiana University School of Medicine (IUSM) have announced a new opportunity for IUSM medical students to receive global health training through a joint Medical Doctor/Master of Science in Global Health (M.D./M.S.) integrated dual degree program that will begin in August.

“We are excited about this joint effort that will prepare students to make a big impact on the health of some of the world’s most underserved populations,” says Gregory Crawford, dean of the College of Science at Notre Dame.

“This effort capitalized on the shared relationship the South Bend campus and Eck Institute have built around several shared research projects,” says Dr. Rudy Navari, associate dean and director of IUSM-South Bend (IUSM-SB), noting that most IUSM-SB faculty are members of the Eck faculty.

This new academic collaboration is offered to medical students from any of the IUSM campuses who plan to practice medicine in underserved settings. Students will take a leave of absence during their third year of medical studies to join M.S. in Global Health students at Notre Dame for a 12-month program. Upon completion of the M.S. in Global Health degree, students will resume their medical degree studies with the option of finishing at the IUSM-SB campus for their third and fourth years.

“The new joint effort will better prepare our graduates for highly competitive global health careers at places like the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health,” says David Severson, Eck Institute for Global Health director. “This program will strengthen Notre Dame’s tradition of placement in these international organizations as well as the thousands of nongovernmental organizations such as Catholic Relief Services, with whom we have existing relationships.”

The program was organized by members of the Eck Institute and IUSM-SB staffs and subsequently reviewed by both the graduate school and provost’s office of Notre Dame and the medical education administration of IUSM.

The one-year supplemental, science-centric training program consists of 30 credit hours over two semesters and summer (fall, spring and summer sequentially) involving a six- to eight-week field experience in an international resource-poor location. All students complete a required master’s research project, a scholarly report based on original research or literature-based research. “We are only in the second year of the existing one-year master’s program,” says Joseph Bock, director of global health training, “and the demand has been more than we expected.”

August will be the initial transition for incoming IUSM students to begin the integrated dual degree program. Although other leading universities offer similar five-year programs, this degree program will be the first dual degree of its type from two collaborating universities.

For information, please contact the Eck Institute for Global Health at 574-631-5617.

Contact: Sarah Craig, 574-631-2665,

Originally published by Sarah Craig at on January 17, 2013.