September

Dr. Jermaine Gray, center, receives his Executive Masters in Population Health Management diploma from Dr. Bettina Beech, dean of the John D. Bower School of Population Health.
Dr. Jermaine Gray, center, receives his Executive Masters in Population Health Management diploma from Dr. Bettina Beech, dean of the John D. Bower School of Population Health.
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Population health management graduates apply skills to practice

Published on Thursday, September 12, 2019

By: Karen Bascom, kbascom@umc.edu

The John D. Bower School of Population Health at the University of Mississippi Medical Center held a surprise diploma ceremony September 8 for the first three graduates of its executive master’s in population health management program.

Started last year, the 12-month degree program trains working, experienced clinicians in the principles of population health.

“I have gained a better understanding of the complexities of the health care system,” said Dr. Jermaine Gray, associate professor and interim chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. He says in practice, physicians treat individual patients with particular diseases. However, “these problems and diseases affect whole populations, and we learned to manage them in the grander scheme.”

Dr. Bettina Beech, dean of the School of Population Health, takes a photo of Lorie Ramsey's diploma. Ramsey is one of the first three graduates from the school's executive masters in population health management.
Beech takes a photo of Lorie Ramsey's diploma.

“The program has had an impact on my practice in a clinical role, and now I’m seeing how I can use it in my new role,” said Dr. Demondes Haynes, a professor of medicine who recently became vice dean of admissions for the School of Medicine. “We need to be teaching the principles of population health to our students, not just how to treat diseases.”

The degree program, which started classes in August 2018, is comprised of nine courses designed to foster collaboration between the student-clinicians and allow them to use what they’ve learned in their practices.

“During our studies, we leaned on each other personally and professionally, and took from each other’s strengths,” said graduate Lorie Ramsey, a former director of coordinated care at UMMC.

Gray said one of his favorite courses from the program was in clinical coaching.

“We learned techniques that we can use in day-to-day patient care that apply to both individual patients as well as those in a population,” Gray said.

The first graduates of the executive masters in population health management program in the School of Population Health are, from left, Dr. Demondes Haynes, Lorie Ramsey and Dr. Jermaine Gray.
The first graduates of the Executive Masters in Population Health Management Program in the School of Population Health are, from left, Dr. Demondes Haynes, Lorie Ramsey and Dr. Jermaine Gray.

Dr. Bettina Beech, dean of the Bower School of Population Health, presented the official diplomas to the graduates, congratulating them for their accomplishments. Afterwards, the group received an early look at the School’s new space in the Translational Research Center before faculty, staff and students move in later this fall.

“Your work here has helped inspire a world-class school, and we plan to produce many more alumni like you,” Beech told the graduates.

This executive master’s program is the first of its kind in the Southeastern United States, and within a school that is just the third of its kind across the country. Founded in 2016, the Bower School of Population Health trains clinicians and scientists in a growing field who will advance health care delivery and our understanding of multiple determinants of health. In May, the School granted its first three M.S. degrees in biostatistics and data science.

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Chima

Dr. Charles Chima, assistant professor and director of graduate education for population health science, thanked the graduates for their hard work and for being the inaugural class.

“We are building this ship as we sail,” Chima said, referencing a poem on the wall of one of the School’s conference rooms. “Now you are our alumni ambassadors.”