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Practice-Based Learning

In order to become an effective public health professional, students of public health need the opportunity to apply knowledge, theories, and skills learned in their academic courses.  The required MPH practicum makes this linkage by providing students the opportunity to integrate and apply the lessons learned in the classroom into a public health setting.  During the practicum, the student will work on a defined public health project and be mentored by a public health professional currently practicing in the field.

Although, each student will have a different experience, the goal of the practicum is for the student to practice the public health competencies by working onsite in an approved public health setting as a part of the organization's team to address a critical health issue.

Students in the Department of Health Systems, Management and Policy often choose to do practicum in their areas of interest.  Some of these areas include health policy, health financing and quality of care, health services research and public health administration.  The following is a list of preceptors our students have completed their practicum with:

  • AHEC Rural Immersion Project
  • The Children's Hospital
  • Citizens for Patient Safety
  • Colorado AIDS Project
  • Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
  • Colorado Patient Safety Coalition
  • Livewell Colorado
  • Presbyterian/St Luke's Medical Center
  • The Public Health Alliance
  • University of Colorado Denver - State Network of Colorado Ambulatory Practices and Procedures

 Quick Links: Requirements & Information

Capstone Experience - Master's Project

After completing a practicum many students choose to complete a Masters Project (or publishable paper) that contributes meaningfully to the current body of knowledge in the field.  These may include creating a program plan, program evaluation or policy initiative and are often connected to the work the student completed in his or her practicum. 

Download more information | Capstone Experience Guidelines | Capstone Project Proposal

Previous capstone projects:

"Heart and Stroke Health Communities (HSHC): Logic Models Theory Development"

Kunal Bhat, MPH Health Systems, Management & Policy

Heart Disease is the number one cause of death among U.S. adults; stroke is a close third.  The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) developed the Heart and Stroke Healthy Community (HSHC) initiative to address heart disease and stroke (HD/S) in Colorado in an organized, structured manner.  Communities combating this epidemic need to understand the relationships among the available program resources, planned activities and their desired changes or results.  Kunal's project developed logic models based on the socio-ecological framework to connect evidenced-based activities proposed by the HSHC Coalition with Centers of Disease Control and Prevention�s (CDC�s) desired short-, intermediate- and long-term outcomes. She helped prove logic models to be successful when developing prevention strategies. 

"Evaluating Organizational Acceptance of Motivational Posters as a Means of Communicating Health Messages in the Workplace"

Alyson White, MPH Health Systems, Management & Policy

Boulder Community Hospital (BCH) is developing a workplace wellness program and evaluating ways to communicate health messages to employees.  The CDC recommends motivational posters that encourage stair use as an effective method for increasing physical activity. 

Alyson's objective was to determine if employees would notice motivational posters encouraging stair use, as well as find them effective in their message and purpose.  She also wanted to see if the administration would recognize the cost-efficiency and effectiveness of the posters in order to approve an expanded workplace intervention.

Posters were created using language recommended by the CDC.  With administrative approval, posters were hung in one department of BCH for a week.  Employees then received written surveys to solicit feedback on their awareness of the posters and the effectiveness of the message. Alyson found that of 15 employees that completed the survey, 93% noticed the posters and 87% found the message effective.  BCH Administration approved an extended intervention, limiting it to a small target group and non-patient areas.  She also found there was high employee acceptance for motivational posters as a method of communication, however further administrative discussions were needed.  

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