New degree unites law and MPH
The School of Law and School of Medicine & Health Sciences (SMHS) are have announced a new dual Juris Doctorate (J.D.) and Master of Public Health (M.P.H.) degree. The joint program provides future attorneys with a specialized, accelerated health policy track allowing them not only to specialize in public health law, but obtain an M.P.H. degree simultaneous to the J.D.
While not a new concept, the dual degree is the only one of its kind in North and South Dakota and the only such program between the states of Washington and Minnesota.
“For students interested in public health law, this is an ideal dual degree,” said Don Warne, director of the SMHS Master of Public Health program and its new doctoral program in Indigenous Health. “These graduates will have skill sets in health law, health policy, and public health.”
At nearly 10 years old, UND’s public health program has already graduated dozens of public health professionals working across the nation in population health research, epidemiology, health systems and policy, and Indigenous health. The program announced the world’s first doctoral program in Indigenous Health in 2020. The new dual degree with the School of Law will expand the program’s productivity, opening up the study of public health to more professionals.
“The School of Law is very excited about this new joint degree partnership with the UND School of Medicine and Health Sciences,” added Michael McGinniss, dean of the UND School of Law. “By sharing faculty expertise and curricular resources, we will provide our law students with a strong foundation of knowledge and skills for professional success in the growing field of public health. They will graduate very well-positioned to serve both public and private health institutions in meeting their legal needs and obligations.”
Graduation requirements for completing the degrees are the same for other dual degrees at the Law School, which “houses” the program, added McGinniss. The School of Law will accept up to nine credits of courses taken as part of the M.P.H. program toward completion of the J.D.
“As someone who has advanced degrees in fields separate from but related to medicine – specifically, public health and business administration – I know personally the benefits that dual degree programs afford students,” commented Joshua Wynne, who holds M.D., M.B.A., and M.P.H. degrees and serves as vice president for health affairs at UND and dean of the UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences. “This is an exciting development for UND and, most importantly, for our students.”