Practice and Engagement

Preceptors prepare students for real-world public health practice.

Annual Impact

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Students Placements



Hours Contributed



Impactful Products

Each year, over 300 UTHealth Houston School of Public Health students participate in a practice-based experience (i.e., practicum) in Texas, the US, and worldwide.

These students annually contribute 54,000 hours of public health engagement annually, improving the communities they serve, their host organizations, and themselves. These experiences result in the creation of over 600 professional products annually, including needs assessments, intervention development, community surveys, data collection and analysis, literature reviews, and more.

UTHealth Houston School of Public Health students enrolled across Texas and beyond are prepared and eager for applied practice experiences.

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About the Practicum

Students pursuing their Master of Public Health (MPH) or Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) degrees must complete a practicum that connects their goals and interests to the needs of the host organization and community. Working with a UTHealth Houston faculty mentor and community preceptor (site supervisor) and produce, each student completes a 180-contact hour public health practice experience and produces the requisite deliverables.

Applied practice experiences can be in-person or virtual, paid or unpaid, and occur during any semester (spring, summer, or fall). Practicum experiences also require

a community engagement component, which could include working directly with the public or on projects and/or creating deliverables addressing community health (e.g., surveys, resources, informational materials).

Ready to Host a Student?

Preceptors are needed to help prepare our students for real-world public health practice. Are you interested in mentoring the next generation of public health leaders? Serving as a preceptor allows you to share your knowledge and expertise with future professionals, contributing to advancing health equity.

Serve as a Community Preceptor

The preceptor, or site supervisor, is an employee or affiliate of the host organization who oversees the practicum.


  • Advise students in developing projects and deliverables 
  • Orient students to a practice setting and organizational and institutional policies 
  • Supervise students and provide feedback on their performance and potential career paths 
  • Guide and mentor students as they develop as public health professionals 

Hear from Recent Preceptors


“The student has been very helpful to our program. They were willing to learn and work on several different tasks at a time. Their final projects will be used in our program in the future and have greatly contributed to TB education for our community providers.”

-Texas Department of State Health Services

"I love the opportunity to host practicum students in our office. I have always had exceptional interns from the UTHealth School of Public Health, and the latest student was no exception. Our student made great contributions to our program to address the pandemic and advance our program through evaluation."
-University of Texas Administration

“The student participated in a host of activities related to our MCH Infant Health and Safety campaign. They are professional and eager to learn. We enjoyed providing them with practical experience to support skill development in public health programming and communications.”

-Texas Department of State Health Services

Get Started!

Connecting Students with Opportunities in Four Steps

  1. Identify Suitable Opportunities for Student Projects and Deliverables
    Do you need an evaluation plan or a training webinar for a program curriculum? Or maybe you want to write a grant or create health communication messaging. Examples of suitable deliverables are available by program and major in the resources linked below.
  2. Identify Student Characteristics that Best Fit the Opportunity
    MPH and DrPH students across all programs (Health Promotion & Behavioral Sciences, Epidemiology, Environmental Science, and Management, Policy & Community Health) are required to pursue a practicum. Depending on your project needs, you may want to select a student from a certain program or campus. This is also an opportunity for you to determine if this will be an in-person, hybrid, or virtual experience.
  3. Post and Promote your Opportunities
    • UTHealth Houston School of Public Health uses Handshake, the #1 early-career community platform, to post available practicum and employment opportunities. Employers can create a free account and post general and position-specific information. A guide to Handshake for preceptors is available in the resources linked below.
    • Let us know how we can help! The Office of Public Health Practice and Engagement can assist with posting opportunities to Handshake if needed and promote opportunities through various means of direct communication to our students.

      Click Here to complete our Preceptor Inquiry Form and connect with a member of our practicum services team.
  4. Select a Student
    • Identify a student that fits through your preferred means (e.g., interview) and work with them and their faculty mentor to produce and review a learning contract outlining expectations of the experience and student responsibilities.
    • The student will initiate the learning contract process, and a fully approved learning contract is required before the student can start their practicum experience.

Helpful Resources

The Office of Public Health Practice and Engagement provides tools and resources to students, faculty, and preceptors to help guide the practicum experience. These include the following resources for preceptors.

Contact Us

Have a question or would you like to discuss hosting a student? Our team is ready to help. Contact the Office of Public Health Practice and Engagement at [email protected]