The histories of Tulane University's Schools of Medicine and of Public Health and Tropical Medicine date back to 1834, and developed from the founding physicians' desire to study and control public health threats in the environments in which they occur.
While the School of Medicine and the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine separated into separate academic units of Tulane University in 1967, Tulane University recognized the complementary nature of medicine's patient-based approach and public health's population-based approach.
In 1971, Tulane inaugurated the MD/MPH combined degree program. This was one of the very first programs that permit students to meet all requirements for both degrees during the usual four-year medical curriculum.
The first four joint degree students graduated in 1975. With time and program and scheduling changes, the program has become much more popular: graduating classes exceed 30, and more than 900 students have graduated from the program since its inception.
Tulane students can pursue their medical degree from School of Medicine at the same time they are pursuing their public health degree from one of the many departments in the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.