The Common Thread

By Gabriel Stahl
April 2, 2015

Behavioral Sciences, Microbiology, Pathology, Biochemistry, Anatomy, Physiology, Histology, Neuroscience, Genetics, Immunology, and Parasitology. What do all of those courses have in common? The obvious answer is that they are all core medical courses at St. George’s University (SGU) School of Medicine. However, as a student who has finished 95 percent of my public health master’s degree from the SGU School of Preventive Medicine, there is more than the most obvious answer. 

The common thread that I see across each course is Epidemiology. Each course discusses diseases and statistics. Knowing the most common cause of any disease is important as a physician (not to mention it will help with the USMLE Step 1). The Master’s in Public Health Degree from SGU helped lay a strong foundation for my knowledge of epidemiology. During the Behavioral Sciences course, I assisted fellow aspiring doctors in understanding the core concepts of epidemiology. After that course, I thought epidemiology was over until the USMLE Step 1. Wrong. The first week of pathology we discussed sensitivity, specificity, prevalence, incidence, ppv, and npv. The second week of microbiology? Same thing. As a medical student, it is always a huge relief to find something so familiar in a new class. One less thing to learn equates to more time, and in medical school, time is everything.
In the past, I’ve written about the unique opportunity public health offers to apply knowledge in the community. The value of a public health degree has become even more apparent as I progress through my medical education.
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