Introducing, the Miller School M.D./M.P.H. Class of 2028

The 32 students embarking on the M.D./M.P.H. dual-degree program met faculty and classmates as they looked to the future.

Three female students flash the U hand sign at the M.D./M.P.H. orientation

This year’s University of Miami Miller School of Medicine M.D./M.P.H. degree orientation provided the Class of 2028 an insightful glimpse into their upcoming dual-degree journey, allowing them to engage with their fellow students and faculty while exploring what lies ahead.

“The orientation for each M.D./M.P.H. class is a time of excitement for students and faculty,” said Shirin Shafazand, M.D., M.S., a Miller School professor of medicine and director of the program. “It is a great pleasure to meet our students and learn where they come from and what they hope to do with their time at the Miller School. This is the beginning of their medical school journey and, as faculty, we are privileged to witness their achievements over the next four years.”

Dr. Shirin Shafazand speaking from a podium at the M.D./M.P.H. orientation
Dr. Shirin Shafazand, director of the M.D./M.P.H. degree program.

The Miller School leads the country in dual-degree medical graduates and its M.D./M.P.H. students have earned a national reputation for success. A recent study showed that many of the program’s graduates take on leadership roles in residency, research and community outreach, a testament to the quality education the cohort is set to receive.

Dr. Latha Chandra at the M.D./M.P.H. orientation
Dr. Latha Chandran

As deans and faculty introduced themselves to the class, each provided wisdom and advice. Latha Chandran, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A., executive dean for education and the Bernard J. Fogel Chair in Medical Education at the Miller School, discussed the challenging but rewarding journey ahead of them. She encouraged the students to examine problems from a holistic perspective and emphasized that everyone has the power and opportunity to drive meaningful progress.

“I am surrounded by young faces full of energy and enthusiasm,” Dr. Chandran said. “The care you will give patients as physicians will make the difference between life and death. As public health professionals, you are also responsible for making sure your decisions positively affect the community at large.”

Students expressed a mixture of excitement and nervousness. Faculty and leaders assured them that their hard work would be rewarded with success.

Dr. David Lee standing at the podium while speaking to students at the M.D./M.P.H. orientation
Dr. David Lee

“When you depart here, you will emerge as public health physicians,” said David Lee, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Public Health Sciences at the Miller School. “As you settle in your future communities, we hope you take on public health leadership skills to serve as leaders. We look forward to hearing about your success.”

As each member of the class introduced themselves, the students discovered common interests, such as rock climbing, writing, Irish dancing and cooking. The Class of 2028 is excited to explore what Miami has to offer, from its food scene to its beaches and beautiful weather.

“I chose the Miller School for its welcoming community of students and faculty, immersive community health programs and, of course, the warm weather,” said Maya Patel, who completed her undergraduate degree in anthropology with a minor in biology at Washington University in St. Louis. “My goal is to pursue a multifaceted career, one in which I develop scientific expertise to provide high-quality patient care while also addressing the upstream determinants of health that limit marginalized communities from receiving it.”

Seventeen of the 32 M.D./M.P.H students are from Florida, Maryland or California. Seventy-five percent are women and 50% racial or ethnic minorities, with international representation from Germany, Iran and the Dominican Republic.

Beyond its rich diversity, the class boasts varied academic backgrounds. While most students hold a Bachelor of Science degree, several have earned Bachelor of Arts or even Master’s degrees. Common fields of study include neuroscience, biology and public health.

“I’m super excited to begin and get involved in the program,” said Allan George, who completed his undergraduate degree in neuroscience with a minor in poverty studies at the University of Notre Dame. “Since I believe a physician’s role is to accommodate patients and fully understand them, having a background in public health is necessary. I hope my career at the Miller School will help me become a well-educated physician who understands patients to a high degree, with a public health lens that will lead to a systematic change in medicine.”

Tags: Dr. David Lee, Dr. Latha Chandran, Dr. Shirin Shafazand, dual degrees, M.D./M.P.H. Program, medical education