Master of Medicine in Community Health
The Wits School of Public Health offers the degree of Master of Medicine (MMed) in the specialty of Community Health. The MMed is a medical specialist training programme that is an important component of the postgraduate training programmes of the WITS School of Public Health. The MMed is a 4 year full-time training programme that admits medical graduates with some clinical experience in public sector health services. Two fields of study are offered – the field of Public Health Medicine (PHM) and the field of Occupational Medicine. The MMed training aims to equip trainees (registrars) with knowledge and skills in specific subject areas that are defined in the regulations of the College of Public Health Medicine (CPHM) of South Africa. The training programme has produced numerous high quality graduates achieving both local and international recognition.
To develop and graduate quality medical specialists capable of meeting the public health medicine and occupational medicine requirements of the country, within the context of the African and global public health community.
Fields of study
The MMed (Community Health) in the field of Public Health Medicine is managed by the Department of Community Health in the School of Public Health, while the field of Occupational Medicine is managed by the Division of Occupational Health in the School of Public Health.
The MMed in the field of Public Health Medicine was started in the late 1980s to meet the growing need for medical professionals with public health training who could contribute to disease prevention and strengthening of health care delivery. The training aims to equip MMed students (registrars) with competencies in a range of subjects including: research methods, health measurement (epidemiology, biostatistics, demography, health informatics), occupational health, the epidemiology and control of communicable diseases, environmental health, the epidemiology and control of non-communicable diseases, and organisation and management of health services. As part of their training, registrars work in various settings (under supervision of Public health medicine specialists in the Department of Community Health) in a range of areas including: policy development, planning, monitoring and evaluation of health services and programmes, disease prevention, and hospital management.
The MMed in the field of occupational medicine was started in the mid 2000s in response to the growing need for medical professionals with occupational health and medicine training who could contribute to the prevention of occupational disease and the promotion of the health of workers. The training aims to equip registrars with knowledge and skills in public and occupational health measurement sciences; social and behavioural aspects of occupational health; occupational toxicology; occupational medicine; occupational hygiene; occupational health services management; environmental health; and the legal and political environment of occupational health. Clinical occupational medicine is a substantial subject area. Registrars and specialists get involved in policy formulation, teaching, setting up and evaluating occupational health services and a variety of research activities (including grant writing, undertaking research, as well as publishing research articles and presenting at national and international conferences) at all governmental levels and private enterprises.
The minimum requirements are: MBChB, MBBCh or equivalent qualification acceptable to the Health Professions Council of South Africa for registration as an independent medical practitioner in South Africa, at least three years of supervised medical practice which may include the two years of internship and a year of compulsory community service.
Intake of new registrars ordinarily occurs twice a year (in January and July), subject to availability of a vacant registrar post. Registrar posts fall vacant when the incumbent completes her/his four year contract.