Presentation: Introduction to Field Placement Preparation (PDF)
- Introduces the field placement coordinator and guest lecturer and provides an overview of the field placement requirements, including the different team members. Explains the purpose and objectives of the field placement preparation course as well as the course schedule and expectations.
An integral aspect of the MPH curriculum is the Field Placement or Field Experience. The Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) states, “all professional degree students must develop skills in basic public health concepts and demonstrate the application of these concepts through a practice experience that is relevant to the students’ areas of specialization.”
The purpose of a planned, supervised and evaluated Field Placement is to provide students with the opportunity to synthesize, integrate and apply practical skills and knowledge learned through courses, gain professional experience in a public health work environment, and work on public health projects that are of interest to the student and benefit to the agency.
Specific learning objectives include:
Demonstrate awareness of the functions and operations of an organization that contributes to the health of a community.
Apply appropriate public health theory, skills and knowledge to a public health or community health issue.
Complete an Action Learning Project in an area of public health practice for the participating Field Placement site.
Develop or enhance skills and knowledge in multiple areas of public health competency.
- Credit Hours
The credit hours for the Field Placement are variable. All students must complete a minimum of two credit hours (80 hours of fieldwork at or for the placement site). In special circumstances, which must be approved by the MPH Program Director, students may elect to take more credits. Typically, the Field Placement occurs during one semester, but it may be spread over two consecutive semesters if warranted. Once project work has started, students must complete the Field Placement in one calendar year.
- Relationship to Capstone Project
The Field Placement and final Capstone Project are two distinct MPH curriculum requirements. However, the Field Placement could lead to a topic that can be further explored within the development of the Capstone Project, but combining the Field Placement and Capstone Project is neither required nor expected.
- Prerequisites - Coursework and CITI Certification
Students must have completed, at a minimum, the core courses and, preferably, all other coursework aside from the Capstone Project. However, due to the uniqueness of the Field Placement and opportunities that may arise, exceptions may be made. Students must submit the Early Field Placement Request Form to the Program Director in these instances, and this form is available on the Field Placement Forms page.
Students engaging in a traditional Field Placement (not a Group Field Placement through the Wisconsin Center for Public Health Education and Training or another unique opportunity) should enroll in 18279 MPH Field Placement Preparation the semester before beginning project work. The Field Placement Preparation course will facilitate the students’ planning process and will incorporate all of the students’ responsibilities through the development of a proposal. A Field Placement Proposal that has been approved by the student’s Faculty Advisor and Site Preceptor is the final product of the Field Placement Preparation course.
Students are required to maintain CITI (Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative) certification in the Protection of Human Research Subjects throughout the Field Placement. The course may be accessed at the CITI Web site, and students must register for one of the following groups.
- Group 1 – Biomedical Investigators, Co-Investigators, and Study Coordinators
- Group 3 – Appropriate for all IRB, DSMB, DSMC, and GCRC members and everyone involved in Both Biomedical & Social/Behavioral Research
- Group 4 – Social/Behavioral Research PI’s, Co-PI’s, Study Coordinators
A copy of the Human Research Curriculum Completion Report should be submitted to the Program Coordinator via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by fax to 414-955-6529.
- Presentation: IRB Review Processes for MPH Students (PDF) - Provides general information about IRBs and the IRB consultant review of your field placement proposals. Describes how to determine whether your project will need to go through a formal IRB review process, and explains general IRB review processes at MCW and elsewhere.
- Preliminary Planning
Field Placement arrangements are ultimately the responsibility of the student and subject to approval by the MPH Program Director. Upon matriculation into the MPH Program, students will develop a plan of study. Students should immediately begin to consider Field Placement sites and the semester in which they plan to enroll in this program. During the annual evaluation conducted by the Program Director, plans regarding the Field Placement will be reviewed.
A Student Interest Form, current resume or CV, and completed Competency Self Assessment should be submitted to the Program Coordinator during the Field Placement Preparation course, approximately four months prior to beginning the Field Placement. These documents are available on the Field Placement Forms page, and students should contact the Program Coordinator to further discuss the Field Placement.
- Presentation: Field Placement and Public Health Career Opportunities (PDF): Describes how to utilize your field placement to enhance your career. Focuses on identifying your interests and opportunities for further development, and provides tips on writing resumes and CVs as well as samples.
- Waiver from Field Placement Requirement
Students with previous public health employment may be eligible for a waiver. Requests for waivers will be considered and approved by the Program Director on an individual basis. In general, the Field Placement experience may be waived for students who have a bachelor's or advanced degree in health or a related profession and at least five years of continuous, paid public health experience. The possession of a prior professional degree in another field (e.g. MD, RN) or prior work experience that is not closely related to the academic objectives of the student’s degree program is not sufficient reason for waiving the Field Placement requirement.
Students must submit a waiver application form that includes the description of the Field Placement equivalent experience along with a resume or CV and a completed Competency Self Assessment (PDF) during the first semester of enrollment. If a student is granted a waiver, the credits will need to be acquired through other coursework.
Residents in preventive medicine, occupational medicine, aerospace medicine, and public health and general preventive medicine who are earning their MPH as the academic year of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education accredited preventive medicine residency and who then undertake the residency practicum year immediately after completing MPH didactic coursework, may count their practicum year as the required Field Placement experience for the MPH Program.
- Developing an Action Learning Project
The Action Learning Project the student completes during the Field Placement is developed in collaboration with the placement site, the MPH Program and the student, and it should be in alignment with the student’s desired learning objectives and competencies. The project may entail working individually or with an interdisciplinary agency team on a public health problem or initiative. Examples of projects may include:
- Program Design and Implementation. Students work to develop and implement an agency program in areas such as health promotion or community intervention.
- Program Evaluation. Students conduct an evaluation of an agency program to determine effectiveness and outcomes.
- Community Assessment. Students assist in conducting a community health needs assessment.
- Community Health Planning. Students assist in various aspects of developing a community health improvement plan.
- Grant Proposals. Students contribute to the research, drafting and submission of a funding proposal.
- Public Health Policy. Students research and analyze a public policy or develop an advocacy statement related to a public health issue.
- Applied Research. Students conduct research on a topic of mutual interest with the Field Placement site.
Presentation: Developing a Project (PDF). Explains how to develop an action learning project with your site. Describes appropriate projects and collaborative development, and provides examples of previous students’ projects. Outlines the preparatory responsibilities of each team member as well as the logistics of the first team meeting.
- Proposal Development
After identifying the site and Preceptor, students will develop a Field Placement Proposal in conjunction with the Preceptor and with advice from the Faculty Advisor. The Field Placement Proposal form is available on the Field Placement Forms page, and students should refer to their Competency Self Assessment as a basis for determining specific competencies to be attained. The final proposal must be submitted to the Program Coordinator during the Field Placement Preparation course, at least six weeks prior to the beginning of the student’s project.
Students may not enroll in Field Placement until this proposal has been approved by the Preceptor, Faculty Advisor, IRB Consultant and Program Coordinator. The MPH Program will determine which Action Learning Projects will need to undergo a formal Medical College of Wisconsin IRB review. Additional site IRB requirements are the responsibility of the student and Preceptor.
Presentation: Developing your Proposal - Part 1 (PDF): Describes how and when to submit your proposal, and explains the first three sections of the proposal form: contact information, timeframe and logistics, and project description.
Presentation: Developing your Proposal - Part 2 (PDF): Explains the last three sections of the proposal form: chart of competencies and learning objectives, responsibilities, and agreement and approval. Describes the organization of the chart as well as how to write learning objectives, identify competencies, and determine evidence.