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The most recent students to take advantage of Emory’s unique dual degree offerings are Christine Pieton, who is working toward her DPT/MBA, and Lilly Webster, who will earn a DPT/MPH.
Pieton has completed two years of her physical therapy study and is currently enrolled in a one-year MBA program at the Goizueta Business School. Next year she’ll return to the School of Medicine for her final year of physical therapy studies, graduating in 2014. The opportunity to get a DPT/MBA is what drew Pieton to Emory. “Emory is the only school in the country that currently offers that dual degree combination, and it really intrigued me,” says Pieton “I’ve always been interested in opening my own clinic, so I wanted a foundation not only from the clinical side, but from the business side as well.”
Pieton describes her year in the MBA program as an incredible experience. “I had no business background at all, so I took some online courses after being accepted into the program just to try to get up to speed,” she says. “The faculty of both schools have been great about integrating me into the program.”
After the first semester of required courses, Pieton was able to tailor her classes to her interests. “I’ve been focusing on leadership, management, health care and entrepreneurial issues,” she says.
After graduation, Pieton hopes to focus on orthopedics or sports medicine, including doing an orthopedic residency. Within 10 years, however, she’d like to open her own practice. “I think the dual DPT/MBA help me achieve that goal,” she says.
Webster was also drawn to Emory by its dual degree offerings, but her interest was in public health. She actually got involved in public health as an undergrad, when she studied abroad in South Africa and was able to participate in an HIV/AIDS peer education program. “I knew I wanted to pursue physical therapy, but I was also becoming more interested in public health,” she says. “When I found out Emory is one of the few schools that offers both, I decided this was the school for me.”
Webster has completed two years of her physical therapy studies and is currently enrolled in the Rollins School of Public Health. Like Pieton, she will return to the School of Medicine next year to complete her final year in physical therapy.
Webster has tried to take advantage of all the resources offered at Rollins. “Last summer I was able to spend six weeks in Haiti working with a masters nursing student and masters of public health student,” she says. “We were able to partner with a hospital in Haiti to work on a quality improvement project for pediatric rehab services. We also provided some community education sessions. It was a wonderful experience.”
After graduation, Webster hopes to work in a large Level 1 trauma center that serves primarily uninsured and underserved populations. “I want to hone my clinical skills first,” she says. “Then I’d like to move into program development. That’s where I really see the intersection of physical therapy and public health going – developing programs to either help people who are in physical therapy or need to access services. This was a great decision for me. I think the public health knowledge I’ve gained will ultimately make me a more aware and patient-centered practitioner.”