All MPH students are required to complete a field experience in public health as part of the PHP2070 MPH Public Health/Community Service Internship course. The MPH Program provides enrolled students with a variety of resources to connect with rewarding and interesting internship experiences. In addition to meeting with academic core advisors and other faculty conducting research in specific public health topics, students also confer with the Coordinator for Applied Learning Experiences and Career Development in order to learn more about opportunities focused on current issues of individual student interest, public health research, and internship experiences that align with each student’s research area of interest and future career goals.
The MPH Public Health/Community Service Internship course consists of two main components – core sessions and field experience placement, which includes a final project and poster presentation.
Core Sessions: These include small group sessions with academic advisors and large group seminars. The small group sessions provide students an opportunity to explore basic concepts of public health and relate these concepts to their individual field experience placements in a student presentation and interactive discussion format, while the large group seminars are offered to present general topics and practical guidelines in identifying thesis topics, protocols of the Institutional Review Board (IRB), public health data sets in Rhode Island and nationally, and other areas of general interest and educational usefulness to students.
Field Experience Placement: Students must complete at least 145 hours at a pre-approved field experience placement. This is equivalent to approximately one month (4 weeks) of full-time (8 hours per day) work. Students can complete the field experience as a full-time or part-time experience in the months of June and/or July between the first and second year, or they can complete the field experience longitudinally throughout the first year during the fall and spring semesters.
Parts of the Field Experience
1. An approved Internship Proposal Form: The proposal should clearly define and justify the field experience placement, including a statement of the proposed final project and its contribution to the student’s educational and career goals. Students must submit the proposal to the MPH Program Director for review and approval.
2. A field experience: The field experience and final project should be related, but the field experience(s) may be broader and contribute to a larger understanding of public health issues. The field experience should expose the student to real world public health issues. Field experience activities may include (depending on the topic and the qualifications of the student) attending meetings; participating in ongoing activities; planning, implementing and evaluating short-term projects; participating in health education and outreach; taking part in analytical discussions and/or delivering health related services, when appropriate.
3. A final project: The final project must include a final product/deliverable. A final project may include, as examples, designing a public health intervention, conducting a quality assessment, writing a research proposal, writing a literature review, completing a research analysis/report, or developing a website. Students must consult with their MPH Internship sponsor and with the MPH Program Director to be sure that their proposed project is acceptable for the educational purposes of the internship.
4. A poster: Students must design a poster that demonstrates the results of the field experience final project. Students must present their internship posters in a poster session held in September of the second year of the MPH Program. Having the internship course span the entire first year allows students working in field experience placements locally or globally during the summer to use those experiences as part of the internship course requirements.