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 internship in the form of an applied public health practice experience. The Brown MPH 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 Coordinator for Applied Learning Experiences and Career Development in order to learn more about opportunities that align with each student’s public health area of interest and future career goals.

  1.  An approved Applied Public Health Experience (APHE) plan: This plan is developed in the PHP2071 course during the Spring of the student’s first year.  The plan includes information on the APHE site; work to be conducted; competencies to be achieved; and the deliverable products that demonstrate that the stated competencies have been met.
  2.  An Applied Public Health Experience field placement: Students must complete at least 145 hours at a pre-approved APHE site. This is equivalent to approximately one month (4 weeks) of full-time (8 hours per day) work. Students can complete the field placement as a full-time or part-time experience in the summer between the first and second year, during the spring semester, or a combination of these time frames. The APHE field placement should expose the student to real-world public health issues and other professions that work to address public health issues.  APHE field placement 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 deliverable products: The APHE must include a minimum of two deliverable products that are of practical utility to the APHE organization or agency. The two deliverable products can be components of larger projects, which 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 APHE mentor/supervisor and with the MPH Program Associate Director of Public Health Practice to be sure that their proposed products sufficiently demonstrate the achievement of the stated competencies related to the APHE for academic credit in meeting this MPH degree requirement.
  4. A video presentation and/or poster: Students must design a video presentation and/or poster (as determined by the PHP2071 course instructor) that demonstrates the APHE and the deliverable products.  The student video presentations are posted to the MPH Learning Community site on Canvas as part of the PHP2072 course for all MPH students and faculty to review. Student APHE posters are presented to faculty, students, and community partners at a poster session that is 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