237563 Linking academics and practice: Graduate student practicum experiences in epidemiology

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 12:32 PM

Lorraine K. Alexander, DrPH, MPH , UNC Center for Public Health Preparedness, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Jennifer A. Horney, PhD, MPH , Department of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Nancy Colvin, MS , Department of Epidemiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Gerardo Heiss, MD, PhD , Dept. of Epidemiology, UNC-Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Introduction: In 2007, the Department of Epidemiology at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health (UNC SPH) implemented new competency-based MPH/MSPH practicum guidelines. Students are required to complete a planned, supervised, and evaluated practice experience of at least 40 hours that demonstrates at least 3 epidemiology and 3 cross-cutting competencies from the Association of Public Health Master's Degree in Public Health Core Competencies.

Methods: The UNC Preparedness and Emergency Response Research Center (UNC PERLC) facilitates linkages between academics and practice by serving as a preceptor for graduate student practica experiences.

Results: During 2010 practica included assistance with a case-control study of a Hepatitis B outbreak in a healthcare facility to identify potential sources of the outbreak (3 students); administration of a community health assessment survey, followed by data analysis a summary report of the results for the local health department (2 students); participation in a team of school nurses to develop and implement a new training program on tick-borne diseases (1 student).

Conclusions: Competency-based mentored practicum experiences provide graduate students with important applied public health experience. Faculty at UNC PERLC are strategically positioned to support students' practica for an opportunity to apply classroom learning in public health practice settings.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Describe the MPH/MSPH student practicum process in the Department of Epidemiology. Demonstrate the importance of the linkage between an academic department and CDC-funded Preparedness and Emergency Response Research Center (PERLC) in supporting successful competency-based practica. Discuss specific examples of student practica that link academics and practice.

Keywords: Epidemiology, Competency

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I serve as a practicum preceptor to many students in the epidemiology department, including those described in the abstract.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.