briefcase stethoscopeThe Collat School of Business and UAB’s School of Medicine this fall will begin offering a dual Doctor of Medicine and Master of Business Administration degree.

Collat and the School of Medicine partnered to develop a program aiming to provide MD/MBA graduates the best possible trajectory to expand their career options, and to create future physician-executives.

The new dual-degree program will give medical students the training and education to better understand the business side of health care, through providing courses in accounting and finance, economics, marketing, management, health care innovation, operations, and supply chain management with a focus on health care, as well as information technology and business strategy with a focus on health care.

“Changes in the health care field are opening more doors for physicians,” said Collat School of Business Dean Eric Jack. “From the way health care is delivered, to the evolution of medical informatics, the industry is constantly transforming. Earning an MBA opens medical students up to new, innovative ways of thinking, and provides our medical school graduates with not only more career options, but also the ability to actively participate in shaping the future of health care.”

The program is an integrative, four-year degree that combines business management courses with the MD curricula, and is designed specifically not to interfere with the rigors of the first two years of medical school. Students start their business classes the summer before medical school. The remaining courses are offered at strategic intervals after the second year of medical school and after students have taken the important United States Medical Licensing Examination.

The program is an integrative, four-year degree that combines business management courses with the MD curricula, and is designed specifically not to interfere with the rigors of the first two years of medical school. Students start their business classes the summer before medical school.

“I’m excited for what the dual-degree option means for future students,” said Leah Strickland, a fourth-year medical student at UAB who is also in the MBA program. She enrolled in MBA courses last year to gain a competitive advantage toward getting matched with her first-choice residency program. “The medical students will have the ability to gain knowledge in two fields that will only serve to broaden their potential opportunities.”

In addition to traditional coursework, MD/MBA students will be able to participate in private health-specific professional development and networking sessions designed for them. These lunches and workshops are designed to keep medical students engaged throughout the program, particularly during the two-year period in which they take only medical courses.

Additionally, the program caters to a medical student’s busy schedule with concierge service. Students in the program are automatically enrolled in the business courses they need, and their books and materials are supplied to them. They also are paired with mentors with dual degrees.

“The addition of this program further emphasizes how UAB continues to innovate and grow to ensure it remains a top-destination medical school,” said Selwyn Vickers, MD, senior vice president and dean of UAB’s School of Medicine. “Students will have even more opportunities to learn about their field of choice, and that in turn will make them that much more competitive, both in their applications to residencies and in their ultimate entrance into the job market.”

“A business education gives physicians the competitive advantage to become executive decision-makers and place them on a fast-moving career ladder,” said Majd Zayzafoon, MD, MBA, co-director of the new program.

“The dual MD/MBA graduates will not only understand their patients and their needs, they will also innovate the effectiveness and efficiency of medical practice as a whole,” Zayzafoon said. “Medicine is often seen as a vocation, and this does not sit comfortably with business. However, while medicine can help a few, medicine and business combined generates growth and helps the masses. We have to always remember that practicing medicine is a career, fixing ailing bodies is a skill, and managing health care is a business.”

UAB’s M.D./MBA program is accepting applicants for the summer of 2016 for first-year medical students.


By Katherine Shonesy