The Internship

Ellis Silva, MPH

Ellis Silva, MPH

“I completed a public health internship in Uganda to provide access to health services and education. My education at Brown has taught me the importance of thinking globally and upstream. Whether it’s working in Providence or East Africa, I will take what I’ve learned here at Brown wherever I go.”

All MPH students are required to complete an Applied Public Health Experience (APHE). The MPH Program provides enrolled students with a variety of resources to connect with rewarding and interesting applied public health practice experiences.  In addition to meeting with academic core advisors and other faculty conducting research in specific public health topics, students also confer with the Assistant Director of Applied Learning in order to learn more about opportunities that align with each student’s public health area of interest and future career goals.

Parts of the Applied Public Health Experience (APHE):

1. An approved Applied Public Health Experience Plan: Potential APHE opportunities are explored during the fall semester and further formulated during the spring semester of the student’s first year.  The APHE plan includes information on the APHE organization, site, and work to be conducted, as well as a description of the final deliverable products. The APHE should have a community-based component and requires the student to work with an inter-professional team during the experience.

2. An APHE requires the following: Students must complete at least 145 hours at a pre-approved APHE organization/agency, which can be paid or unpaid. This is equivalent to approximately one month (4 weeks) of full-time (8 hours per day) work. Students can complete the APHE longitudinally during the first academic year; during the summer between the first and second years; or a combination of these time periods. The APHE should expose the student to real world public health issues and other professions outside of public health that work to address public health issues.  APHE 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.

3. Two final products: The APHE must include two final deliverable products.  The products may include, as examples, designing a public health intervention, conducting a quality assessment, developing health education materials, writing a communication brief; completing a research analysis/report, or developing a website.  Students must consult with their respective APHE supervisor/mentor and with the Assistant Director of Applied Learning to be sure that their proposed products are acceptable for the educational purposes of the APHE. The final products need to demonstrate the achievement of at least three MPH Foundational Competencies and/or MPH Concentration Competencies that have been identified by the student. The products should be of practical utility to the organization/agency.

4. A poster: Students must design a poster that showcases the student’s APHE and final products.  Students must present their APHE posters at a poster session held in the fall semester of the second year of the MPH Program as a part of the PHP2072 course.  

Our students’ internship experiences are as diverse as their interests:

Sample Internship Project Location
Evaluation for Standard and Mobile Health Applications Bangladesh
Microbial Translocation and Schistosomiasis Brazil
Using Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy to Assess White Matter Neuroinflammation Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies
Developing an Instrument in Assessing Financial Toxicity in Multiple Sclerosis Center for Gerontology
Technological Solutions for the Diagnosis of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Center for the Study of Children at Risk
Retaining Transgender Women in HIV Care: Best Practices in the Field The Fenway Institute
Evaluation of Academic Detailing Visits with Top Opioid Prescribers in Rhode Island Rhode Island Department of Health
Efficiency of Nursing Home-Emergency Department Transfers and Quality of Communication Review Rhode Island Hospital Emergency Department
Supportive Housing Models for Medicaid Program Steward Healthcare Network
Co-Facilitator of Teens Empowered to Advocate for Community Health TEACH Community Health
International Organization for Migration Practices Regarding Assisted Voluntary Return & Reintegration for Migrants with Health Needs World Health Organization

Students may complete an approved internship locally, nationally, or globally.

In Rhode Island, our students have access to organizations and government agencies—from the insurance commissioner's office to the lieutenant governor's office, from the Department of Health to the seven local hospitals affiliated with Brown's Alpert Medical School—that are key to improving population health. Comprising 1,000 square miles and 1 million people, the smallest state in the union is manageable in scope while being economically and ethnically diverse; it's the ideal place not only to collect data, but also to evaluate interventions and understand why they work. Sample local internship sites:

Government Agencies Rhode Island Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities, and Hospitals
Rhode Island Department of Corrections
Rhode Island Department of Health
Non-profit Organizations
Community Care Alliance
Day One Sexual Assault and Trauma Resource Center
The Fenway Health Center (Boston)
Green & Healthy Homes
Greenhouse Social Enterprise
HealthCentric Advisors
House of Hope Community Development Corporation
Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence
Maternova, Inc.
Narragansett Indian Tribal Lands
Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island
PACE Organization of Rhode Island
Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights
Providence & Woonsocket Public High Schools
The Providence Center
Rhode Island Foundation
Rhode Island Free Clinic
Rhode Island Hospital
Rhode Island Public Health Institute
Center for the Study of Children at Risk
Steward Healthcare Network
Walden Behavioral Care
The Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute