PHS 381 – Public Health Studies Practicum

General information:

The PHS practicum is a course offered in Winter Term or Summer Session I where students complete at least 100 hours in public health-related agencies and related academic work.

The primary objectives of this course are for students to:

  • Implement and improve their ability to integrate academic knowledge and professional practice through experiences;
  • Develop knowledge and understanding of theories fundamental to contemporary public health practice including: the social ecological model of health promotion, evidence-based public health practice, ethical decision-making, and cultural competence/humility;
  • Familiarize themselves with the agency’s purpose, structure, funding mechanisms, planning and objectives by participating in activities, services, meetings, case conferences & seminars that are essential to the scope and mission of the organization; and
  • Make a contribution to the organization.

Students have two options for placements:

Local placements:  Students interested in completing their practicum in the local community will be placed in an appropriate agency by the Practicum Instructor. Placements are based on student interest as well as agency capacity. Once a student has been informed of the placement it is the student’s responsibility to contact the field supervisor and take care of any pre-placement requirements such as a background check, TB test, etc. Please do not contact local agencies yourself as we do not want to overwhelm them. Applications are due October 9th.

Online placements: Students completing the online/distance public health practicum outside of the Alamance County area are required to find their own placements. They can begin contacting organizations independently. Students who want to complete their practicum in Durham, Greensboro, Chapel Hill, or Raleigh must contact the practicum coordinator first, before reaching out to the organization of interest. Public Health faculty must approve potential organizations. Applications are due October 9th. Instructions on how to communicate with a potential practicum sites are available.

  • The organization must be able to provide 100 hours of work for students to meet course requirements;
  • There must be a supervisor who will serve as the primary contact person and will complete course evaluation of student performance;
  • The organization must do public health work. Examples of public health work include program planning, program evaluation, public health service, policy work, environmental health efforts, etc. Clinical settings (hospitals, outpatient health care provider offices, etc.) must go beyond one on one patient care, for example, there may be a focus on community engagement or partnerships with public health-related organizations outside of the health care facility. You will need to write a brief explanation of why your site is appropriate on your application.
  • Example sites where students have completed practicum: health departments, health related non-profit organizations, wellness centers, community clinics, food insecurity organizations, health policy organizations, local, state, or national public health organizations.

Please see the Application Process for Practicum for step-by-step instructions on how to apply.