Hello ATSU-SHM Blog Readers,
My name is Brian Moore, and I’m a graduate of the Masters of Public Health (MPH) program at A.T. Still University-School of Health Management (ATSU-SHM) and a current osteopathic medical student at A.T. Still’s Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine (ATSU-KCOM). When I heard SHM was developing a blog to share our stories with readers, I had to jump on the opportunity to discuss my experiences with SHM and ATSU as a whole. I admittedly didn’t know much about SHM when I applied, but soon realized that the great education I was receiving there would supply me with a great wealth of knowledge to use as a future physician. I had been accepted to medical school at ATSU-KCOM, set to start in the fall of 2010, leaving a year in between graduation from my undergraduate school and medical school. I wanted to stay educationally engaged, so I enrolled in the MPH program at SHM, planning to take a few classes and stay “fresh” and engaged. As I spoke with my admissions coordinator at SHM, I quickly realized the value in earning a degree in public health and the application it would have on my future career as a physician. So I changed my enrollment status to full-time and even asked for special permission to take extra classes each quarter in order to complete the program in a little over a year, And in the Spring of 2011, I completed the program and received my MPH degree.
So why do I feel SHM was so great and the MPH degree was so valuable to my education? An education in public health will empower any healthcare provider with knowledge for their tool bag to provide better care for all of their patients. The founding school of the university that is now called A.T.Still University is Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine, KCOM. KCOM is also the founding school of osteopathic medicine worldwide. One of the key tenets of osteopathic medicine is the concept that physicians shouldn’t look just at a single symptom or body region, but rather look at the patient’s body as a whole, a collection of all body systems and regions, that acts in harmony. This philosophy is at the backbone of public health too. The art of medicine is often focused on treating individual patients, whereas public health aims to look at the health and wellness of a population. So where cancer cells will impact the health of an individual person in medicine, public health looks at the impact that a disease outbreak will have on a city, state, or even nation. I found that the philosophies and concepts taught in the MPH program at SHM intertwine and complement the global ideals within the various schools of ATSU. And I think that this umbrella approach to medicine will make me a better doctor, understanding not just the roles of cells and body systems within my patient, but knowing how the health of my patient will affect those around him or her.
SHM was a great place for me to gain this education and learn from others. At the beginning of each new class, there would be an online forum aimed to introduce ourselves to each other. It was so amazing to see all the walks of life from all the students at SHM. I had several classes with medical students, residents, people already working in public health, high school and college teachers, and even a sailor from a nuclear submarine. Rather than re-hashing the reading assignments in our online discussions, we’d often get on tangents talking about how the weekly topic was perceived in our life experiences. For example, in a human resource management course, we were asked to read a chapter on the application, recruitment, and hiring processes seen in healthcare. Our discussions would often start talking about the reading from the text, but would evolve to discussions of what we had seen in our careers and lives. It was so great to not only learn from our teachers and our textbooks, but to learn from each other and help each other learn from our collective achievements and failures. My favorite classes at SHM were Public Health Policy and Politics, and Death and Dying: Life and Living. These classes helped me learn so much about healthcare, patient care, and most importantly about myself and my own thoughts, opinions, and feelings.
One last thing that I appreciated about SHM is the willingness of the professors and administration to discuss potential career options within each degree program. Drs Michael Samuels and Don Altman, department chairs for the MPH program and MPH-dental program respectively, both volunteered their personal time to speak with SHM students about the MPH program and what an MPH can do for you in terms of career options. It was so great to learn of all the ways that an MPH can advance a career in direct patient care and more importantly outside of direct healthcare. The MHA and DHEd programs had similar online seminars for students as well. It was so great to learn of all the ways an MPH can be used and the strengths that come with an education in the various areas taught within SHM. I am so thankful for everyone at ATSU-School of Health Management for helping me through my educational journey and for empowering me to learn about public health and its implications in my future career. I think that if you’re interested in health education, health administration, or public health, you should seriously consider applying to A.T. Still University-School of Health Management. And if you’re interested in virtually any other career in in healthcare, you should look into the other schools of ATSU, which are all excellent. I am a proud ATSU-SHM alumnus and am so thankful for the opportunity to become an alumnus of ATSU twice over in two years.
Best of luck to you in whatever path you choose to travel!
Brian Moore, M.P.H. (’11), OMS III (’14)