November 14, 2023 – In Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Master of Public Health program in Clinical Effectiveness (MPH-CLE), students get a twofold opportunity: They can boost their clinical research skills as well as make rich connections with fellow students from around the world.
The program was created for physicians and clinicians seeking analytic and quantitative skills—such as biostatistics and epidemiology—to use in clinical research. It includes a six-week intensive summer program—the Program in Clinical Effectiveness (PCE)—followed by various options to complete the degree, such as taking courses during summers only or full- or part-time during the academic year.
Here, three current students discuss their experience.
What led you to enroll in the MPH-CLE?
Kendra Wulczyn, MPH ’24, nephrologist: I felt that I needed to grow my skills in epidemiology and biostatistics to be successful in my career as a clinical investigator, and I knew that the MPH-CLE program would help me achieve that goal. Plus, being enrolled as a part-time student allowed me to earn my degree while also completing my nephrology fellowship training.
What do you think is the best part of the program?
Sarah Justvig, MPH ’24, pediatrician: I have enjoyed the balance between methods courses—such as qualitative research and systematic review—and content-area courses in my specific “north star” of early childhood development. It has been a joy to engage in interdisciplinary coursework as well, and my experiences have certainly been richer thanks to the contributions of other Harvard students in the Graduate School of Education, the Kennedy School, the Medical School, and other Harvard-affiliated programs.
Sung Hae Chang, MPH ’24, rheumatologist: I’ve met physicians from other countries and learned about [various] medical systems’ differences through their vivid real-world experiences.
Wulczyn: A major strength of the program is the blend of foundational education in epidemiology and biostatistics along with the opportunity to explore your personal interests in other disciplines through electives. I was able to take classes on topics that were immediately applicable to the research I was doing during my fellowship training, which undoubtedly strengthened my ongoing research projects and made the classes even more engaging and rewarding.
Describe the relationships you have fostered in the program.
Wulczyn: It’s been great to meet other students with non-clinical backgrounds, and it has pushed me to think about my own research interests through the lens of someone with, say, an interest in nutrition science or econometrics.
Chang: The summer PCE course was excellent: It was a great time to learn about research systematically and hear the different experiences of my classmates. The professors are great, too—the materials are well organized and they hosted plenty of office hours so we could seek advice.
How has this program impacted your career?
Wulczyn: Just as important as learning advanced clinical research skills, the MPH-CLE program has introduced me to new subjects, such as qualitative research and implementation science, which I am now incorporating into my ongoing research. I am a more capable and well-rounded investigator because of this program.
– Catherine Seraphin
Photo of Kresge building: Kent Dayton
Photos of MPH-CLE students courtesy Kendra Wulczyn, Sarah Justvig, Sung Hae Chang