33-Credit Doctor of Medical Science, PA Not Required

Discussion in 'Nursing and medical-related degrees' started by sanantone, Nov 23, 2022.

  1. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

  2. LearningAddict

    LearningAddict Well-Known Member

    Makes sense that you wouldn't have to be a PA to enter this program, as the courses are more matched to the standard American Doctorate in Health Science rather than what a PA would normally take in a DMS program (DMS programs normally have foundational medical, science or advanced clinical practice courses).

    I could see this one causing some issues, like some unscrupulous person shows up with the degree posing as a PA, the hospital or Doctor's practice is lax on verification, unscrupulous degree holder gets hired as a PA, holder gets some people hurt. It's happened many times before, and sadly many times at the MD and RN levels. One such scumbag got by as a fake surgeon for years until she was finally caught and arrested during a surgery after having botched one earlier!
  3. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator Staff Member

    I'm out of my element with this kind of thing, but I was curious so I looked into it a bit. The Doctor of Medical Science degree is, in my opinion, poorly named. Not just with Northeastern, but with other programs I looked into. The curriculum has little to do with medical science and more to do with healthcare leadership, research and advocacy. Which are all fantastic and necessary, but are all professional skills for healthcare practitioners and not directly related to the science of medicine.
    Rachel83az and sanantone like this.
  4. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    At the very least, they should be checking for an active PA license. There are PAs licensed with a certificate who were grandfathered in, the current requirement is a master's degree, and there are currently no doctoral programs that I know of that lead to PA licensure. Several healthcare fields have changed their education requirements within the past 10 to 20 years, so a healthcare organization should be checking the state license database instead of relying on degree verification. Either way, a person can lie about having a degree or license.
  5. LearningAddict

    LearningAddict Well-Known Member

    This is the first one I've seen like this, but perhaps I just haven't seen enough of them. If that's widespread, then that would worry me. I mean, there is an administrative side to the science of medicine of course, but just the title "medical science" implies, well, what it implies, certainly not administration.

    I remember when the degree was new and the concern was about how a PA holding the DMS would be addressed in a clinical setting with MDs on staff. I think PAs know better than to expect to be addressed as "Doctor" but there are always people out there whose egos will take over.
    Maniac Craniac likes this.
  6. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    It does look more like a health science program, but I'm not a fan of that name either since most health science programs are really just healthcare administration programs.

    MS in Medical Science programs mostly target those looking to boost their GPA and test scores for medical school or some other healthcare professional degree program. Therefore, the curriculum is focused on biology and chemistry. University of Florida has unique medical science programs that focus on pathology and neuroscience.

    Northeastern's program is less science-oriented than a Doctor of Public Health, and those aren't all that heavy on science to begin with. It should be a DHA, but DMSc sounds fancier.
  7. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    I think schools were expecting states to create a pathway for PAs to practice independently. Since that hasn't happened yet, they've been marketing these programs as continuing education or something that can be used to qualify for college instructor positions. I probably would have called these doctoral programs something else. If it's geared toward education, then it should be a health education program. If it's to improve practice, I would have chosen "advanced physician assistant studies" or something to that effect. The name of the doctoral degree should be similar to that of the master's degree.
  8. LearningAddict

    LearningAddict Well-Known Member

    I think the leak is where a person would get a Doctorate with a degree title like this for which schools normally require applicants to be PAs. Then, somebody in administration screws up, wacko slips past, and then there is potential harm. Considering how criminals (and I'm calling them criminals now, because that's really what they are) have slipped through the cracks to masquerade as Nurses and Doctors, I put nothing past them.
  9. LearningAddict

    LearningAddict Well-Known Member

    Yep. And I'm thinking that's the reason they went with it, which is definitely not the right thing to do at all.
  10. datby98

    datby98 Active Member

    Correct me if I am wrong. I know online DMSc is almost only available in the US. Actually, I wonder if it was coined in this nation. It seems Northeastern tries to differentiate its DMSc program from others by highlighting "in Healthcare Leadership." If this is the case, why don't they just name it a DHSc or DHA program...?:emoji_thinking:
    Using my MBA-level thinking, they might want to create a "holistic" market, hunting all the fishes, including those focusing on PA, business, health informatics, health laws, pharmaceuticals, public health, etc. Just read the seven concentrations.
    I may not be the person to judge, but only the two types of concentrations of health informatics and pharmacy and health system sciences may convince me this is a "medical science" doctorate-level degree.:emoji_smirk_cat:
    felderga likes this.
  11. felderga

    felderga Active Member

    Reading this makes me kinda sad as this would have been the perfect program for me 2 years ago. Love that there is a wide variety with respect to healthcare electives from analytics, finance, law, and leadership. I do agree with @datby98 that DHA or DHSc could have been used but I guess the focus is to attract PAs, so DMSc it is.
  12. mintaru

    mintaru Active Member

    I admit it's just an assumption, but I'm sure the DMSc is a US invention. The reason I am convinced of this is the history of the profession of physician assistant.

    This is the history section of the Wikipedia article on the profession:
    By the way, the fact that this profession exists in other countries does not mean that it has the same importance for the health care system as it does in the USA. For example, in 2018 there were approximately 300 physician assistants across Germany. (That profession was only introduced in Germany in 2007.) Most Germans have never seen a physician assistant and often don't even know that this profession exists.

    One more thing: Universities in German-speaking countries traditionally use Latin titles for their doctoral degrees and a few schools in this area award the title "Doctor medicinae scientiae". In English, of course, that means Doctor of Medical Sciences. However, the Doctor medicinae scientiae (Dr. med. sci.) is a completely different animal. It is a doctorate in medical research, equivalent to a PhD.
    datby98 likes this.
  13. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    To me, the most clinically-relevant concentration is public health and maybe the pharmacy concentration. Health informatics is mostly for those who don't have contact with patients or the public and would be more relevant in a health information management program.
  14. felderga

    felderga Active Member

    Not necessarily true as many Doctors, Nurses and Pharmacists are pretty active in IT system work especially for example as it relates to electronic health record system workflow changes or analytics/reporting around patient outcomes. Health Informatics tends to center on using tech with health and those that do the heavy IT lifting behind the scenes typically are more trained in generic computer sciences disciplines than in Health Information Management (or Health Informatics).
  15. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    Health informatics and health information management are also separate, non-clinical disciplines that are marketed to those who would otherwise study healthcare management. There are also bioinformatics and biomedical informatics programs targeting scientists who don't work with patients. While informatics could be helpful for a clinician to learn, I don't see this as a typical focus of medical science programs, which were originally intended to prepare physician assistants for independent practice.

  16. felderga

    felderga Active Member

    Being a graduate in Health Informatics and someone who has spent nearly the last 15 years in the healthcare IT field I'm well aware of the discipline and have had many first-hand encounters with both clinical and non-clinicians in my work. Again PAs and Nurses routinely are asked to contribute to building out an electronic health record (EHR) workflow in a hospital unit which is why having health informatics training is important. I don't think was the main focus but an area of specialization. Also remember typical IT analysts and consultants don't fully understand all the technical clinical requirements which is why having someone again with first-hand clinical knowledge is a must these days for most organizations.

    Here's an example of a PA that is involved with system implementation and training - > https://www.aapa.org/news-central/2018/10/pa-patel-creates-niche-clinical-informatics/

  17. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    Health information management programs are designed to educate people on healthcare terminology/requirements and IT. They know more about the regulatory stuff than most clinicians.

    Many people who were trained in patient care move on to management and health education, but that doesn't make those two things medical science. Healthcare leadership is relevant to healthcare providers, but it's still leadership and not medical science. Medical science is basically applied human biology.

    I have a medical science degree. You can survey the dozens of master's and doctoral programs out there. The focus is almost always on the human body. Medical scientists are neither medical records specialists nor IT professionals, but they might utilize informatics in their research on human health.

    Public health is extremely important for healthcare professionals to understand. Community health departments are staffed with nurses, nurse practitioners, physicians, physician assistants, etc. There could be a debate on which concentration is most relevant or more important to know, but that's all dependent upon a student's specialization and goals. Legal nurse consultants would probably like the health law concentration, for example. As for which concentrations are medical science...none of them are. Public health and pharmacy are the most related to the field, however, because they utilize biology and chemistry and are directly focused on human health as opposed to healthcare IT systems.
  18. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    It should be noted that those job announcements are for non-clinical positions. One website is called Non-Clinical Careers for Physicians. Among physicians who are working with patients, I believe the MPH is the most popular master's degree.
  19. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    I posted about this program a while back. It also looks more like a DHA than a DMSc, but it doubles as a DHSc and DMSc. The curriculum is the same for both programs, but the DMSc is only awarded to physician assistants. Interestingly, this program is housed in their School of Healthcare Administration & Leadership.


    I believe Lincoln Memorial University was the first school to offer a Doctor of Medical Science in the U.S. They have a clinical medicine and medical education track.


    ATSU was the second or third school to offer a DMSc. They have professional (clinical), leadership, education, and public health tracks. In this video, the head of ATSU's program says that the DMSc was created as a shorter and cheaper doctoral program to prepare physician assistants for advanced clinical practice, teaching, or leadership. He also explains that the DMSc was intended to be only for physician assistants; there were already other doctoral programs targeting healthcare professionals.


    What I've gathered from this video is that offering a DMSc to non-PAs defeats the purpose of having a DMSc but also that the DMSc doesn't really fill a gap in higher education, and there's really no reason to restrict it to PAs. They just created a cash cow for PAs to quickly earn the "doctor" title.
  20. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    A leadership concentration doesn't seem to be out of the norm, but the programs usually include some clinical or medicine-related courses. I think DMSc programs were summed up pretty accurately. They're for advanced clinical training, PA education preparation (to become a college instructor or professor of clinical practice), and learning leadership and administration skills.

    Tracks: Advanced Clinical Practice and Education

    Focus is on global health and disaster medicine.

    Tracks: Advanced Clinical Practice, Healthcare Professions Education, Healthcare Leadership & Administration, and Psychiatry.

    Half the program consists of clinical practicums.

    A mix of administration courses and clinical practicums.

    Core includes advanced medical courses. Concentrations are Health Profession Educator and Health Profession Administrator.

    Concentrations: Advanced Professional Practice, Emergency Management and Global Health, and PA Education

    Core consists of administration courses. Can choose between clinical practicum courses and education practicum courses.

    Can choose between Healthcare Practice & Administration and PA Educator curricula.
    Jonathan Whatley likes this.

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