From the Classroom to the Community: Showcasing Student Achievement

Students and posters

Annual APHE poster event elevates MPH students’ real world experiences

On October 25 second-year Brown MPH students presented research posters highlighting their Applied Public Health Experience (APHE) work. The event took place at the School of Public Health with a packed audience of students and faculty.

The APHE is a two-semester requirement of Brown’s MPH program that combines academic and real-world learning. It allows students to pursue a project related to their interests and future goals, while accruing 145 hours of hands-on experience in a public health setting. Students have the option to complete their internship during the first academic year, during the summer after the first and second year, or a combination of both time periods. The annual APHE poster event takes place in the fall semester, and provides a unique opportunity for MPH students to share their work.

The posters showed research and work experiences that are diverse and far-ranging. They include internships with the World Health Organization, the Fenway Institute, the Rhode Island Hospital Emergency Department, and many others, as well as working in communities as far away as Brazil and Bangladesh.

During their internships, students complete two products that are organic to their interests and useful to the hosting organization. These may include designing a public health intervention, conducting a quality assessment, developing health education materials, designing a survey instrument for data collection, completing a research analysis or developing a website. 

Here is a small sample of this year’s outstanding projects: 

  • Developing an Instrument in Assessing Financial Toxicity in Multiple Sclerosis
  • Using Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy to Assess White Matter Neuroinflammation
  • Tracking and Preventing Overdoses in Rhode Island with the Substance Use Epidemiology Program 
  • Expanding Resources and Ensuring Quality STI Testing for LGBTQ+ Populations

Annie Gjelsvik, director of the masters in public health program and associate professor of epidemiology, championed the APHE program and the MPH students. “This is one of my favorite SPH events,” she said. “I think it really showcases the amount of public health that MPH students are doing while they are students. One of the things I tell students is that the Brown School of Public Health talks about ‘Learning public health by doing public health’ and that the experiences represented in the room during the poster event represent a substantial contribution to public health.”

The dedication of students to their internships, research, and the vocation of public health was evident at this year’s event. It made clear that Brown MPH students continue to find innovative ways to engage and contribute to the field of public health.