A practicum is a unique learning opportunity that allows you to apply classroom learning in a community-based setting. A practicum is a required component of the MPH and DrPH degree programs.
A practicum is a planned, supervised and evaluated “real-world” experience that allows you to use the knowledge and skills acquired in the classroom. The practicum should address a need identified by your host organization. The practicum directly relates to your academic goals and professional interests. It is highly recommended that you complete the practicum in your field of study.
The practicum is an essential part of the curriculum and is a requirement set by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH), the accrediting body of U.S. Schools of Public Health. CEPH recommends that a student spend a minimum of 12 hours per week at the practicum site.
Primary supervision during the practicum is provided by the community preceptor. Your faculty sponsor is available as needed. A wide variety of public and private organizations are available for students. These sites can provide a valuable practice experience for students by:
A practicum requires that you:
A checklist is available to help you plan your experience.
You, your community preceptor and your faculty sponsor should discuss (use example learning contract) and finalize the practicum requirements. Complete the Learning Contract before you go on site. Use the Learning Contract to clearly define:
Well defined learning objectives are critical to the practicum. The learning objectives define what you would like to gain from the experience. You should identify these early so that you can begin to explore potential sites. There are two levels of learning objectives. General learning objectives should be developed within the context of your overall goals for your program. These should be developed in consultation with your advisory committee. Specific learning objectives are recorded on your Learning Contract and reflect the specific concepts or skills you would like to learn at your practicum site.
Evaluations are completed by students and community preceptors. The evaluation forms are emailed a few weeks before the end of the semester. Community preceptor evaluations are forwarded to your faculty sponsor. Aggregate results are shared with the division chairs, regional deans, and posted on this website under reports.
All practicum arrangements are the student’s responsibility. UTSPH faculty and staff from the Office of Public Health Practice can assist you in clarifying your goals and identifying potential sites. Your search for a practicum should begin no later than the beginning of the semester prior to the semester your practice experience starts. You must complete a practicum orientation session before you start the practicum. A checklist outlining the process for the practicum is available. If you are interested in using your practicum to fulfill the culminating experience requirement, you must follow the school-wide policies and guidelines as documented. The following guidelines should assist you in finding the right placement.
Arrange a meeting with your community preceptor and faculty sponsor. At this time, the following items should be clarified:
The following material (Orientation and Essential Services of Public Health) must be reviewed and the quiz submitted before you register for PH9997. In the link below, there are two presentations to review. The first outlines the requirements for the practicum. The second is a CDC presentation that provides an orientation to the essential services of public health. At the end of the second presentation, there is a link to a quiz that covers both presentations. This short quiz must be submitted once before you register for the practicum (PH9997). If you have taken the quiz, do not take the quiz again.
A practicum is a real-world internship experience, providing students an opportunity to apply academic knowledge in a practice setting. It is an academic requirement for the DrPH degree program. The practicum should address both a need identified by a host organization selected by the student and directly relate to the student’s academic goals and professional interests. The emphases of the DrPH practicum, however, are leadership development and professional development. Students may work in a variety of public health settings during their practicum, based on their course of study and career interests.
The practicum is an essential part of the curriculum and is a requirement set by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH), the accrediting body of U.S. Schools of Public Health. This practice experience provides an opportunity for students to work toward the DrPH competencies determined by the Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH):
DrPH Practicum Learning Objectives & Corresponding ASPH DrPH Competencies
After completing the practicum, the student will be able to:
Apply concepts from academia to public health practice. This may be accomplished through active participation and contribution through team activities with the host organization, which may include attending conferences and grand rounds, drafting white papers or policy briefs, informing the design of health promotion programs, among other activities.
[Communication, Leadership, Management, Professionalism & Ethics]
Additionally, the student will select at least TWO learning objectives from the list below:
Who is involved in the DrPH practicum?
DrPH Student: Identifies practicum site, community preceptor, faculty sponsor, and ensures that all arrangements – including learning contract completion and electronic signatures – have been completed before registration. Student then completes the practicum as outlined in the learning contract and participates in the practicum seminar throughout the semester.
Community Preceptor: Works for the organization where the student will complete the practicum. They will mentor the student throughout the practicum experience. The community preceptor should be experienced in public health and be able to provide an experience that will allow the student to develop as a leader in public health. The community preceptor will provide the day-to-day supervision throughout your practicum and complete an evaluation of your performance at the end of the semester.
Faculty Sponsor: This is a faculty member at UTSPH. Often, students choose their academic advisor, but this is not a requirement. The faculty sponsor provides guidance for the student as they develop their learning contract and throughout the practicum experience, and communicates with the community preceptor as needed. The faculty sponsor assigns the student’s grade (P/F) based on the community preceptor’s evaluation of the student’s performance and completion of the practicum seminar.
Steps for Enrollment & Requirements for Completion of Practicum
Learning Contract: The student, community preceptor and faculty sponsor should discuss and finalize the practicum requirements. The Learning Contract must be completed before the student starts the practicum. Use the Learning Contract to clearly define:
Evaluations: Evaluations are completed by students and community preceptors. The evaluation forms are emailed a few weeks before the end of the semester. Community preceptor evaluations are forwarded to the faculty sponsor. Aggregate results are shared with the division chairs, regional deans, the Practice Council and posted on this website under reports.
Course Facilitator Linda Lloyd, PhD, MBA, MSW Linda.E.Lloyd@uth.tmc.edu
Purpose This online seminar is completed by students during their practicum. Once you register for the practicum, you are automatically registered for the online seminar. All material is available through Blackboard (http://blackboard.uth.tmc.edu) The primary purpose is to examine issues/concepts that are relevant to public health practice. Through readings, PowerPoint presentations and reflection exercises you will have a chance to share your experiences with your classmates.
Competencies This seminar contributes to the following cross-cutting MPH competencies. Discuss how ethical principles and practices are applied in a variety of public health settings. Discuss the importance and characteristics of a sustainable diverse public health workforce. Discuss how public health programs and strategies should be responsive to the diverse cultural values and traditions of the communities being served. Describe the attributes of leadership in public health. Engage in dialogue and learning from others to advance public health goals. Describe the use of collaborative methods in achieving organizational and community health goals. Apply social justice and human rights principles when addressing community needs. Apply basic principles of ethical analysis (e.g., the Public Health Code of Ethics and human rights framework) to issue of public health practice and policy. Apply the core functions of assessment, policy development, and assurance in the analysis of public health problems and their solutions. Distinguish between population and individual ethical considerations in relation to the benefits, costs, and burdens of public health programs. Describe the unique characteristics of public health that captures the distinctive nature of the field (e.g., population-focused, community-oriented, prevention-motivated and rooted in social justice). Discuss sentinel events in the history and development of the public health profession and their relevance for practice in the field.
Course Materials and Organization We will use a variety of methods including PowerPoint presentations and readings to achieve the course competencies. Every second week there is material to review and a question/exercise to post to the discussion board on Blackboard. There is no text-book however you will be expected to read articles from current literature. The message boards and e-mail will be checked several times a week. The schedule (example) outlines the weekly topics and assignments.
Class Assignments About every second week, there is a different public health practice topic. During this time, the instructor poses a question for the discussion board and you are expected to respond. Your final e-Magazine page assignment (described on Blackboard) should be electronically posted to Blackboard). Please title the assignment accordingly.
Expectations and Requirements If there is a compelling reason why you are not able to participate, send me an email to let me know that you won’t be available for a while.
Privacy and Confidentiality Our communication is for this class only. Whatever we say to each other stays within the group.
Academic Honesty Submitted work must always represent your original words or ideas. You must cite all relevant sources.
Approved by: Practice Council, March 16, 2006
Approved by: Academic Council, March 22, 2006