Title

Review of MPH practicum requirements in accredited schools of public health.

Publication Title

Journal of Community Health

Publication Date

6-2013

Document Type

Article

DOI

10.1007/s10900-013-9650-8

Keywords

Accreditation/standards*, Curriculum/standards, Curriculum/statistics & numerical data, Data Collection, Humans, Program Evaluation, Public Health/education, Schools, Public Health/organization & administration, Schools, Public Health/standards*, Schools, Public Health/statistics & numerical data, United States

Disciplines

Medicine and Health Sciences | Public Health

Abstract

Accreditation criteria by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) state that prior to graduation, Masters of Public Health (MPH) students must demonstrate the application of knowledge and skills through a practice experience, commonly called the "Practicum." The purpose of this research was to review those MPH Practicum requirements. Practicum guidelines from US-based schools of public health that were accredited as of October 2011 were reviewed. Data on each Practicum's level of coordination, timing, and credit and contact hours as well as information about written agreements, preceptors, and how the Practicum was graded were collected. Seventy-four Practicums in 46 accredited schools of public health were reviewed. The majority (85 %) of accredited schools controlled the Practicum at the school-level. Among the Practicums reviewed, most did not require completion of any credit hours or the MPH core courses (57 and 74 %, respectively) prior to starting the Practicum; 82 % required written agreements; 60 % had stated criteria for the approval of preceptors; and 76 % required students to submit a product for grading at the conclusion of the Practicum. The results of this research demonstrate that the majority of accredited schools of public health designed Practicum requirements that reflect some of the criteria established by CEPH; however, issues related to timing, credit and contact hours, and preceptor qualifications vary considerably. We propose that a national dialogue begin among public health faculty and administrators to address these and other findings to standardize the Practicum experience for MPH students.


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