Alumni Spotlight: Dominic SanfordDominic Sanford

Dominic Sanford, MD, MPHS, was drawn into the medical field with a purpose. Not only is science intriguing to him, it also allows him to work with people and help solve their problems. Choosing to become a surgery specialist was an easy decision for him. Dr. Sanford likes to fix things with this hands, so becoming a surgeon was the perfect specialty for him. Now, Dr. Sanford hopes to specialize as a hepatobiliary surgeon, or a physician who focuses on pancreatic and liver cancer.

Working with patients who have been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer can be difficult. This type of cancer oftentimes has high morbidity rates and can be difficult for patients and physicians alike to understand. Unfortunately there are not many clinical outcomes studies with this specific population, so continuing to research and understand pancreatic cancer is vital to improving patient care now and in the future. 

The lack of knowledge surrounding pancreatic cancer helped Dr. Sanford in his decision to pursue his master of population health sciences (MPHS) degree. With an understanding of population health sciences and the ability to conduct clinical research, he felt this degree could help him further both his career and patient care ability. “I saw the MPHS as an opportunity to become a leader in surgery because I could become an expert on how to answer the questions that we [physicians] ask ourselves on a daily basis. The MPHS has provided me with a highly sought after skill set that I will use throughout the rest of my career. I can now ask my own questions based on what I observe at the hospital, find my own answers, and publish the results,” said Dr. Sanford. “Completing the MPHS program was one of the best career decisions I have ever made.”

Prior to the MPHS program Dr. Sanford completed little clinical research, and recognized that as an area of weakness in his professional knowledge. Now, after numerous presentations at national and international meetings, winning awards for his research, and having multiple manuscripts published, Dr. Sanford is an advocate for the MPHS program. “I would highly recommend it. If you are even considering the MPHS program, you should do it. I have yet to meet someone who regretted going through the MPHS program, but I know many people who regretted not doing it. The MPHS program is a perfect way to begin the path towards becoming a leader in your field.”

The MPHS degree program accelerates clinical research expertise and gives physicians, residents, fellows and medical students the foundation to excel in leading, designing, conducting and moving research to applications in clinical settings. The curriculum emphasizes the role of clinical epidemiology and biostatistics in clinical effectiveness and outcomes research. Population health sciences training brings together passion for patient care and uses research to improve health outcomes for patient populations. The MPHS program gives you the opportunity to learn at a top-ranked medical institution, Washington University School of Medicine, known for patient care and population health excellence, in classes customized for clinicians and medical students.

To learn more about the MPHS program, visit or contact Blanka Hodzic, program coordinator, at 314-286-0881.

To read Dr. Sanford’s publications, visit his PubMed page. Note: Publications 1-7 were completed using skills from the MPHS program.