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Dr. Contessa Metcalfe Reveals If She Ever Went Back to School for Her Program in Public Health

After her master's program caused a strain on her marriage, Dr. Contessa Metcalfe says there was a new "stressor" as she worked toward completing her degree.

By Laura Rosenfeld

In Season 7 of Married to Medicine, Dr. Contessa Metcalfe made the difficult decision to withdraw from her master's program in public health after commuting back-and-forth between her home in Atlanta and her school in Nashville was causing some challenges in her family, particularly in her marriage to Dr. Scott Metcalfe.

Dr. Contessa later made plans to return to school and shared at the Married to Medicine Season 7 reunion, which was filmed in late 2019, that she "will be finished with my program by the summer." And in the Married to Medicine Season 8 premiere, which aired on March 7, Dr. Contessa confirmed that she had successfully earned her master's in public health.

Dr. Contessa opened up more about her accomplishment during a recent interview with Bravo Insider. "It felt so great," she said. "It was awesome because I went back, and it was kind of like I just picked up where I left off."

With the cultural conversation continuing to center on public health amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Dr. Contessa said that it has been beneficial to complete her program at this time, especially after recently opening an integrative medicine practice with Dr. Scott.

"It’s actually great to be able to integrate and understand why we do things, the public health things in medicine, and to be able to integrate that into the practice and into the medical journey, because that's really all it's about and it's transitioned so much. I mean, just the way we take care of patients and talk to patients and deal with patients. It’s so interesting, because it just changes your perspective, right?" Dr. Contessa explained. "We in medicine, a lot of times, we look at medicine as [an] individualized thing, like, it’s basically sick care... We’re just seeing you, you have a problem today, and we’re gonna fix your problem. But what’s going on with you may be a symptom of what’s happening in your environment."

"And now people, I think, more than ever understand that — and not only the physical but the emotional and psychological effects of those kind of things, because that’s another big kind of unseen effect of COVID is that depression, anxiety, addiction, all those things have gone up," Dr. Contessa continued. "And understanding how those things are interrelated is something that I really learned from studying public health."

The pandemic presented other issues as Dr. Contessa earned her master's degree. "I was still practicing medicine, and so that part of it, I went from, like, one stressor to another one," Dr. Contessa said. "It was tough because, I mean, sometimes I would have to be at the hospital at six o’clock in the morning, and then I wouldn’t leave until six, and so my days became longer, so I kind of traded in one structure for another one. So, they [Dr. Contessa's family] got me back, but then I had to essentially pivot and spend my time doing something else."

Of course, completing her program amid the pandemic also meant that Dr. Contessa wasn't able to have an in-person graduation ceremony, which she was looking forward to her family attending. "When I graduated, unfortunately, everything was virtual. I was really looking forward to my kids [seeing me], like, my cap and gown, and [they] didn’t get to do it," Dr. Contessa shared. "We were already doctors when we had kids, and so they haven’t really seen any of those I’m-proud-of-you moments. And so, I just thought it would be cool for them to have that experience. But our graduation was on Zoom [laughs], and it wasn’t really a graduation; it was more of a slideshow. It was a little anticlimactic, and they didn’t even see it."

However, Dr. Contessa said that she knows her children will come to understand the magnitude of her achievement as they get older, sharing, "They’ll get it one day."

Want more Married to Medicine? New episodes air Sundays at 9/8c.