Through a new joint venture, Yale Medical School students will be able to dissect spreadsheets, not just cadavers.

This year, for the first time in the history of both schools, the School of Management and the School of Medicine are offering a joint doctor of medicine and master of business administration diploma through a five-year program which will expose students to areas where business and medicine converge.

“Medicine really is a business, even if people don’t really like to admit that,” said Dan Mayman, one of seven students enrolled in the program this year. “And doctors have been notoriously bad at dealing with the business side of the profession.”

Pursuing degrees at SOM and the Medical School independently would normally take six years, but the new program allows students to complete both in five years. The program includes a biweekly seminar series where students meet in small group sessions, often with top-level professionals in healthcare management, to discuss relevant business-related health issues. In future years, the program may include an internship program and added health-related courses at SOM and business-related courses at the Medical School.

“There’s no question in my mind that a clinician can play a major role [in health policy and health management],” said Howard Forman, the vice-chair of radiology at the Medical School, a lecturer in the Department of Economics and the director of the new joint-degree program. “I think it is difficult to be part of the process of change when you have never interacted with a patient.”

Forman established the program with support from SOM Deputy Dean Stan Garstka and Medical School Dean David Kessler and will be looking to expand it as more students enroll.

In addition to the seven students currently enrolled in the program, six applications for next year have already been received.

The deans of admissions of the School of Management and the Medical School will host an information session next Thursday to introduce the new program to students who may be considering a joint degree. Though most students in the program began in the Medical School and subsequently joined the joint-degree program, in the future the program may become filled with students interested in pursuing two degrees from the outset of their education, Forman said.

Many students who take on the second degree will likely be Medical School students looking to attach on another year of education, rather than SOM students applying for another three, said Aaron Covey, who is enrolled in the program.

“It doesn’t make sense to go to medical school unless you’re going to be practicing [medicine],” Covey said. “Med school is made up mostly of students committed to becoming doctors. Business on the other hand has an eclectic group of people interested in anything from theater management to corporate finance.”

With similar programs popping up in universities from Mount Sinai to Tufts, the Yale joint degree joins a nascent movement that will train a new generation of doctors.

“I think medicine overall has let the business aspect slip away from them,” Covey said. “In the hands with more medical training, it could be a more efficient process.”

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