The LLUSPH Practicum Experience

The practicum is a supervised work experience for emerging public health professionals in a Master of Public Health (MPH) program. As an MPH student, you will engage in a 100-400 hour experience in a public health setting, such as hospitals, local public health departments, and community organizations. The purpose of the practicum is to provide you with the opportunity to apply academic learning in an interdisciplinary environment and to integrate public health concepts and skills from your program of study.

The aim of the practicum is to meet as many competencies as possible. The depth and breadth of each practicum experience will vary by site location and project availability. This is done in the context of carefully planned and implemented field-based applications, in a real world setting.

The practicum is participatory in nature, rather than observational and is designed to address your specific program's competencies and career interests, while also making contributions to the placement site. While practicum hours are spent at the project location, your work is guided and evaluated through the online Student Practicum Course on Canvas/LiveText.

“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” -Albert Schweitzer

Take a look at some of our students favorite part of the practicum experience.

Learning Objectives

Integrate Academic Learning & Practice

  • To apply knowledge, techniques and skills acquired in the classroom, public health and/or community health setting
  • To explore career options in public health and to learn how a particular organization functions
  • To develop learning agility through immediate and practical application of knowledge in a variety of settings, so the student can respond appropriately to new situations and transform those situations into positive learning opportunities
  • To exercise problem solving skills by participating in public heath projects, identifying current and future problems, obstacles or opportunities, and taking action to address these
  • To develop an evaluation plan for measuring the process, the outcome of the practicum, and the results of and networking activities
  • To demonstrate satisfactory completion of the practicum as documented in a final written report
  • To speak and write in a clear, logical and grammatically sound manner in both formal and informal situations

Appreciate Individual & Collaborative Work

  • To find satisfaction in doing excellent work and to recognize the intrinsic reward that comes from work itself and engaging one’s gifts and creativity to do their very best
  • To appreciate the value of collaborative work in work groups and team settings
  • To find a balance between maintaining individuality and making personal adjustments for improved teamwork
  • To hold oneself accountable and to use positively and appropriately the power of one’s position and personality, with the long-term good of the organization, of practicum placement, in mind

Demonstrate Service & Ethics while Understanding Individual & Cultural Diversity:

  • To see value in all individuals and continually build a respect for diversity
  • To develop a mature understanding of the broader issues of inclusion and diversity
  • To be open to the perspectives of others and value the wisdom and contributions of individuals and communities

Practicum Competencies

Address professional skills and abilities...

Practicum competencies address the skills and abilities needed to professionally demonstrate Public Health competencies* and effective integration of academic knowledge in an interdisciplinary work environment. Each program has specific competencies that students are to accomplish during their program. Because practicum projects and activities vary, students are to focus on the skills that most align with their specific program’s competencies and address other competencies by identifying the relationship they have with the practicum’s project(s) and activities. 

Analytical/Assessment Skills

  • Use appropriate methods and instruments for collecting valid and reliable quantitative and qualitative data
  • Identify and describe the characteristics of a population-based health problem (e.g., equity, social determinants, environment)
  • Use information technology to collect, store, and retrieve data
  • Use variables that measure public health conditions
  • Adhere to ethical principles in the collection, maintenance, use, and dissemination of data and information

Policy Development/Program Planning Skills

  • Analyze information relevant to specific public health policy issues
  • Describe how policy options can influence public health programs
  • Gather information that will inform policy decisions (e.g., health, fiscal, administrative, legal, ethical, social, political)
  • Participate in program planning processes

Communication Skills

  • Use written and oral communication, in person and through electronic means, with linguistic and cultural proficiency
  • Apply communication and team work strategies (e.g., principled negotiation, conflict resolution, active listening, risk communication) in interactions with individuals and groups

Cultural Competency Skills

  • Incorporate strategies for interacting with persons from diverse backgrounds (e.g., cultural, socioeconomical, educational, racial, gender, age, ethnic, sexual orientation, professional, religious affiliation, mental and physical capabilities)
  • Recognize and evaluate the role of cultural, social, and behavioral factors in the accessibility, availability, acceptability and delivery of public health services and incorporate strategies for interacting with persons from diverse backgrounds
  • Respond to diverse needs that are the result of cultural differences

Community Dimensions of Practice Skills

  • Collaborate with community partners to promote the health of the population
  • Recognize community linkages and relationships among multiple factors (or determinants) affecting health
  • Identify stakeholders, community assets and resources

Public Health Sciences Skills

  • Apply the basic public health sciences (including, but not limited to, biostatistics, epidemiology, environmental health sciences, health services administration, and social and behavioral health sciences) to public health policies and programs
  • Contribute to building the scientific base of public health
  • Describe the scientific evidence related to a public health issue, concern, or intervention
  • Discuss the limitations of research findings (e.g., limitations of data sources, importance of observations and interrelationships)

Financial Planning and Management Skills

  • Interpret the organizational structures, functions, and authorities of local, state, and federal public health agencies for public health program management
  • Apply basic human relations skills to internal collaborations, motivation of colleagues, and resolution of conflicts
  • Adhere to the organization’s policies and procedures
  • Identify strategies for determining budget priorities based on available resources (grant, federal, state and local financial contributions)

Leadership and Systems Thinking Skills

  • Incorporate ethical standards of practice as the basis of all interactions with organizations, communities and individuals
  • Use individual, team and organizational learning opportunities for personal and professional development
  • Participate in the measuring, reporting and continuous improvement of organizational performance
  • Use individual, team and organizational learning opportunities (such as mentoring, peer review or coaching opportunities) for personal and professional development.