Online Program

Examining Collaboration between the Public Health Practice Community and Academic Institutions in Kansas

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Christi Nance, MPH, Department of Preventative Medicine and Public Health, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS
Won S. Choi, PhD, MPH, Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, The University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS
Mary Ann Woirhaye, MPH, Public Health Practice Program Grant, Overland Park, KS
Michael Cates, DVM, MPH, College of Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS
Suzanne Hawley, PhD, MPH, Department of Public Health Sciences, Wichita State University, Wichita, KS

Current collaboration between public health practice and academic institutions varies greatly, can be inconsistent over time, and thus, inefficient at fostering mutual goals. In order to strengthen such collaborations, Public Health Practice Project (PHPP) was designed to examine current collaboration between the public health practice community and academic institutions in Kansas and provide recommendations for improvement. 


For this project, we invited 20 local health department (LHD) directors in 2014 to participate in interviews to understand the nature of current collaboration between LHD and academic institutions. We interviewed 14 of the 20 directors, receiving a 70% response rate. We also examined 414 student capstones from 2010-2014 from the University of Kansas School of Medicine, Wichita State University, and Kansas State University to observe student placement and whether Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB) standards were addressed.

Lessons Learned:

Interviews with the LHD administrators revealed several barriers within the current process of collaboration, including funding, geographic location, and lack of a central connector. Densely-settled rural, rural, and frontier health departments are unable to host as many students as larger health departments due to lack of fund. Overall, less than 30% of student capstones were conducted in LHDs, with majority completing their experiences in non-profit agencies such as universities and community agencies.


Future collaboration should contain a central point of communication for potential projects and standardize a process for student placement across institutions. With strengthened relationships between academic institutions and public health practice, future collaboration will be streamlined and mutually beneficial.

Learning Areas:

Administration, management, leadership
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Identify previous barriers in academic institution and public health practice collaboration. Discuss recommendations for future collaboration between academic institutions and public health practices.

Keyword(s): Local Public Health Agencies, Partnerships

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a current Master of Public Health student with a concentration in Public Health Management. I also have a Bachelors degree in Business Management. This project was part of my Graduate Research Assistantship in the Department of Preventative Medicine and Public Health. I was responsible for reviewing the capstone projects and assisted with the development of results and recommendations. My main research interest has been improving health in rural communities through increased collaboration.
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.