Online Program

Economic value of an MPH degree to a clinician

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Garland L. Brinkley, CPH, MPH, PhD, Public Health Program, Touro University California, Vallejo, CA
Le'Anna St. John, PA-C, MPAS, MSPAS/MPH Program, Touro University California, Vallejo, CA
Background: With the passage of the ACA and the aging of the US population, the current number of clinicians will be wholly inadequate to provide individualized treatment to the dramatic future increases in new consumers. Clinicians who obtain or who currently have an MPH degree which focuses upon treating groups rather than individuals will be necessary to address chronic health conditions for the lowest cost. However, while the need for prevention options is widely recognized, the economic advantages to clinicians have not been sufficiently considered. This study attempts to shed light on the monetary value of an additional MPH degree to a clinician. Methodology: First year salary surveys of Physician Assistants who graduated with both the PA degree (and MSPAS) degree and an MPH were conducted in 2008 and 2009. The group of students surveyed graduated from a unique US program where the MPH and MSPAS degrees are required to graduate and were compared to the average starting first year salaries of Physician Assistant graduates who did not have the MPH degree. The NPV of the added costs of the MPH degree was calculated along with the imputed cost of the MPH degree. Results: On average, graduates with both a PA and associated masters in PA studies made $13,000 less than a graduate with the additional MPH degree. The NPV of the additional MPH totaled approximately $250,000. The dollar investment in the MPH was approximately $40,000 (including forgone wages). Discussion: While recent studies have investigated many non-monetary advantages to obtaining an additional MPH degree, clearly a direct monetary benefit accrues to the practitioner. While we fully believe that a clinician with the MPH is a much better and of a higher quality clinician, they also are of greater service to their community. The additional cost of an MPH and forgone wages are small compared to the future stream of income generated by a more qualified clinician. While this study examined the mid-level practitioner, the expectation is that a higher level clinician would reap even more economic value from an additional graduate degree.

Learning Areas:

Clinical medicine applied in public health

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the economic value of additional education

Keyword(s): Economic Analysis, Health Workers Training

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a health economist teaching in a joint MSPAS/MPH program for teh past 7 ears.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

Back to: 4274.0: Primary care poster session