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Office of Public Health Practice and Training

The MPH Practicum

All Bloomberg School MPH students are required to complete a practicum as part of their degree program. The MPH practicum is the student’s opportunity to engage in applied practice activities aligned with their career goals and interest areas. Practicum activities allow students to develop their skills and professional readiness.

Students can customize their own practicum experience or complete a practicum course to meet the MPH practicum requirement.

Customized Practicum Experiences

Students can identify their own practicum experience with an outside public health practitioner or a Bloomberg faculty member involved in a practice-based project. Students are encouraged to utilize their personal, professional, and academic networks to help identify practicum experiences.

Examples of Customized Practicums:

Organization: World Health Organization (WHO) / Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO)

Location: Georgetown, Guyana

Activities: Assist with data collection and analysis involving mass drug administration, including developing a survey instrument, conducting focus groups and interviews, and working on reports. Travel to remote regions to provide direct preventive services, and also conduct an internal clinical audit of regional public hospitals in Guyana.

Organization: Living Classrooms Foundation

Location: Baltimore, MD

Activities: Develop and launch The Identity Clinic, a community-based vital records service for East Baltimore residents. Establish operational procedures, recruit volunteers, and provide individualized support to help community members obtain necessary resources.

Organization: U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, Ranking Member Senator Casey

Location: Washington D.C.

Activities: Draft two letters to the administration and their corresponding information memos to Senator Casey, participate in meetings with aging advocates and round table discussions with the Senator, and lead efforts to write an aging-services related bill.

Organization: Stanford University Hospital

Location: Palo Alto, CA

Activities: Lead a team to design and evaluate interventions to reduce burnout among clinical providers, nurses, and residents on the neurosurgery team. Conduct a literature review on the issue and assess current status via a survey, Gemba walk, and root cause analysis. Design, implement, and evaluate selected interventions, analyze outcome measures, and present findings to leadership.

Organization: Johns Hopkins Hospital Biocontainment Unit*

Location: Baltimore, MD

Activities: Develop training curriculum and learning evaluation tools to help prepare frontline Maryland healthcare facilities for the management of patients with high-consequence pathogens. Attend committee meetings and simulation drills, and create a supplemental training video on the process of doffing personal protective equipment (PPE). *This was a faculty-led team-based practicum with five students.

Organization: Summit County Public Health Department

Location: Frisco, CO

Activities: Assist with the planning, implementation, and evaluation of a new community garden project in partnership with several local nonprofits. Develop an operations manual, outcomes report, and recommendations for improving program sustainability.

Courses with an Approved Practicum Component

There are Bloomberg School courses with a significant real-world practicum component connecting students to outside organizations and agencies. Students are allowed to combine customized and course-based practicum experiences to meet the practicum requirement. Practicum and service-learning courses are open to all Bloomberg graduate students, even if the course is not taken for the practicum requirement.

Examples of Course-Based Practicums

Organization: The Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence, via PH.300.712, Formulating Policy: ​Strategies and Systems of Policymaking in the 21st Century

Location: Washington, DC (Remote)

Activities: Group-based project to review evidence, consult with expert stakeholders, and develop a policy brief on issues related to policy violence during mental health crises. Meet weekly with the organization to review progress and obtain feedback. Present findings to the organization and other classmates at the end of the course. (Course fulfills 35 practicum hours.)

Organization: Maryland Department of Aging, via PH.308.851.01, PHASE Internship Program

Location: Baltimore, MD

Activities: Improve the Maryland Department of Aging's health promotion program reporting process by creating stakeholder-informed process maps and an updated reporting tool, which will improve data accuracy and inform a dashboard tool used for future technical assistance at the county-level. (Course fully fulfills MPH practicum requirement.)

Organization: Maryland General Assembly, via PH.308.851.02, Health Policy Institute Internship Program

Location: Annapolis, MD

Activities: Legislative internship with a policymaker in the Maryland General Assembly. Conduct policy research, arrange and attend stakeholder and constituent meetings, and coordinate and provide written and oral testimony for legislative bills. (Course fully fulfills MPH practicum requirement.)

Organization: Roberta’s House, via PH.380.612, Applications in Program Monitoring and Evaluation

Location: Baltimore, MD

Activities: Group-based project to develop a logic model and evaluation plan for the Roberta’s House youth violence prevention program, Changing the Game. Meet weekly with the organization, and obtain feedback to identify indicators and data sources and create evaluation tools. (Course fulfills 50 practicum hours.)

Organization: Center for Public Health Advocacy, via PH.305.607, Public Health Practice

Location: Remote (Course is fully online)

Activities: Research and define a public health issue within the context of one's hometown or country. Utilize the information gathered to complete a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) analysis and develop an issue brief with recommendations for how to address the issue. Findings aim to inform the Center for Public Health Advocacy's efforts to rebuild the public health system. (Course fully fulfills MPH practicum requirement).

Criteria for the MPH Practicum

Applies public health skills and competencies

Students identify the public health skills and competencies relevant to their area of interest that are most beneficial to their career advancement. Students apply these skills and competencies in concert with knowledge gained from their coursework.

Is framed and carried out within a public health practice context with an established organization or agency

The practicum is a population-level (rather than individual focused) project conducted with an established organization or agency. Students are also expected to gain a deeper understanding of the precepting organization’s mission, hierarchy and practices, as well as the challenges faced (funding, politics, efficiency, etc.) in achieving desired goals.

Is supervised by a qualified preceptor

The practicum preceptor must be qualified to evaluate the student’s professional competence and available to supervise the student throughout the project. Practicum preceptors do not need to be affiliated with Johns Hopkins University.

Is an evaluated experience

Students are evaluated by their preceptor on the achievement of defined learning objectives, competencies, and deliverables. Additionally, as part of the practicum, students reflect on and evaluate their practicum experience(s) particularly as they relate to their career goals.

Is a significant experience (minimum of 100 hours)

The practicum requirement is administered by the School’s MPH Practicum Team. Students can meet practicum requirements in a variety of ways including a single experience or a combination of experiences. Students may work independently or in a team. Activities completed prior to matriculation to the MPH program cannot count towards the MPH practicum requirement.