"The "Preventive Medicine" moniker does not adequately capture the field, nor does "Public Health." Population Medicine might be a better term. But why should I try to describe to you the texture, moisture and taste of a pear? Bite into one yourself! Likewise... check out preventive medicine!"
~Stephen Haering, M.D.
What is Preventive Medicine?
Preventive Medicine (PM) is a board certified medical specialty concerned with the health of populations, where physicians are trained to examine the delivery of healthcare from a distinctive clinical and public health perspective. PM physicians thus have a unique niche and ability to impact healthcare on both the population-based and global level. They pursue careers in all spectrums of healthcare including health departments, academic institutions, state and national government, international or global institutions including the WHO, UN agencies or NGOs, government agencies like the CDC or NASA, organized medical care programs in industry, voluntary health agencies, and the military. Specific career paths include managed care, public health practice, occupational medicine, environmental medicine, aerospace medicine, clinical medicine, informatics, policy development, academic medicine, consulting, international medicine, and research.
TRAINING: Training for preventive medicine generally requires 2 years in residency after a clinical internship or transitional year. Training includes earning a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree which is usually done in one of the two years. There are three specialty areas within preventive medicine: General Preventive Medicine & Public Health, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, and Aerospace Medicine. All Preventive Medicine programs teach the core competencies of biostatistics, epidemiology, management, administration, clinical preventive medicine, and occupational or environmental health. In addition, these programs generally, but not always, subsidize or fund the required Masters in Public Health (MPH) degree.
APPLYING: Refer to our “Opportunities” section below for a list of PM residency databases. Preventive Medicine is included in the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS).
If this whets your appetite, consider joining the AMSA Preventive Medicine Interest Group. See below for ideas to learn more about the field including general information, FAQs, non-traditional options and relevant links!