I have 48 hours to get my shit together…

I am depleted. I don’t know if I’m egotistical or naive, but I didn’t realize how difficult finding my place in graduate school would be. I’ve researched the institutions I’m “applying” to, looked at the researchers, found ideological interest/research matches, secured recommenders, and rewritten my CV.

And then there’s the personal statement.

I asked a mentor and colleague of mine if he would review my CV and statement. He did and loved the CV. The statement led him to suggest that I look at DrPH programs. And now I don’t know what to do. Start again on the program research? Fire ahead? Fake it ’til I make it with researcher-speak? I don’t have a research background. I have a practice background. I have an undergraduate adjunct teaching background. I want to do research and I want to think about how that research impacts the PH world on-the-ground. Does that make me more fit for a DrPH?

When I look at the following table from Johns Hopkins, it’s true. I fit DrPH frame more. So

PhD DrPH
Problems emerge from scientific inquiry and research literature Problems emerge from the public arena, including policy debates and the news media
Emphasis on the scholarship of the discovery of new scientific knowledge and on hypothesis-driven research Emphasis on the scholarship of application of scientific knowledge in order to solve real-world public health problems; may also use hypothesis driven methods
Contributions to theory in a discipline Contribution to public health practice that is most often multi-disciplinary and integrative
Strong analytical skills used in basic science research Strong analytical skills used to assess and evaluate public health problems and programs
Leadership in a substantive or methodological area Leadership in public health practice settings
Future careers in academic and research institutions Future careers in public health agencies and programs; may include academia
Communicates findings to scientific literature Communicates findings to the public and policymakers

And then there’s this sentence from Columbia’s website: “The DrPH degree is for individuals seeking expertise in the application of science to public health leadership, practice and program development.” And yes, that’s what I want to do; translational science. Research to Practice.

But then there’s the availability of programs AND the funding issue.

  • Johns Hopkins: DrPH in Social and Behavioral Sciences; Funding Opportunities Available
  • Boston U: DrPH (interdisciplinary) but no funding; would be funded if I went part-time and worked full-time
  • Columbia: DrPH in Sociomedical Sciences (specific interest in the Center for the Psychosocial Study of Health and Illness + Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion); Fully-funded two years plus stipend for living with 20-hour work
  • Tulane DrPH Community Health: Some assistantships and tuition coverage available
  • UC Berkley: DrPH (interdisciplinary); sketchy funding
  • University of Alabama- Birmingham: DrPH in Health Care Organization and Policy – Outcomes Research;
  • Emory : No program
  • UT Knoxville: No program

So…. I need to figure this out soon. From the personal statement to the recommendations… it’s all slightly different. Oy vey. Tomorrow I’ll look at my colleagues comments on my personal statement and think about the reframe. Holy G-d this is stressful.

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