Journey to DMS

Journey to DMS | Chapter 7

My first semester of the LMU Doctor of Medical Science program is officially complete. I’m writing this in early January and we’ll be starting the next module on the 11th.

Snow day!

We had about 3 weeks off for Christmas which was awesome. I needed a break! I’ve been spending about 15 hours a week studying and working through this post-professional doctorate. Critics of these types of programs like to point out that they’re accomplished while working full time as if that diminished the quality of the material or the effort. On the contrary, it makes doing something like this much more difficult! Not only do I have to manage a full clinic schedule every day with all of the after-hours admin work that entails but I then have to find the time and the energy to spend another 2-3 (14-21 hrs/week) hours studying.

On the other hand, it is doable. To thoroughly read every article, watch every video, and answer every question would probably require 3-4 hours a night (21-28 hrs/week) but that totally depends on how fast you can read.

The end of the first semester

We finished up the third module, heme/onc, discussing various types of cancers and related screenings and treatments. It was a tough module and not my favorite but the MD directing the weekly discussions was excellent. He made it a lot more interesting and valuable.

I believe our next 5-week module is endocrinology. As a primary care PA, I manage a lot of diabetes and thyroid problems so I’m actually excited about this one. Dr. Miksa, the DMS program director, told me that most students enjoy the spring and summer semesters more than the first fall semester. I’m not sure why that is but I’m looking forward to resuming my studies.


Our first on-campus training will be this semester as well. I believe it’s the last week in April or the first of May. We haven’t received any travel plans yet and admittedly with COVID, I’m not too keen on traveling.

It will be a 5+ hour flight for me and several of my West Coast classmates but I’m looking forward to meeting everyone in person and learning more about POCUS (point of care ultrasound). We have an ultrasound machine in the clinic and I do a lot of injections already but I’m not sure if I’d be able to bill for the ultrasound guidance. I could see it being useful in cases of acute abdominal pain but I imagine I’d still be sending most patients for an outpatient exam.

Cost of the LMU DMS program

I’m on the payment plan for the DMS program. I thought about taking loans but I ultimately decided to pay as I go. The first semester, I think I was paying around $1,400-$1,600 a month but my next 5 payments will be just over $2,000. Sure, I wish the program cost less but it’s the best program out there and there’s a premium for that.

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