The successful development of educational, research, and service opportunities for the next generation of public health practitioners is largely due to the collaborative relationships we have established over the last decade. We are often asked how individuals, agencies, and organizations can become involved in the Master of Public Health Program. It is as much the external interest of our partners, as it is our strong internal desire for broad community involvement that makes this collaborative balance work. MPH students can provide new insight and valuable experience to community partners through internships, Practicums and Capstone. As a program, we hope to serve as a resource to connect our various partners with students and each other. There are a number of ways to become involved, with the extent of involvement ranging in breadth and depth, but all meaningful and important to the continued success of the program. The following opportunities are provided for the consideration of campus and community partners as encouragement to become engaged and involved with the CWRU MPH program, joining the growing number of Us dedicated and passionately working to improve, promote, and protect the health of our communities.

Culminating Experience: Practicum and Capstone

The multi-semester Culminating Experience is the centerpiece of the MPH program. A Public Health field practicum and Capstone project is required of all MPH students, this two-course sequence places students in health related settings to work on projects of mutual interest to the agency or organization and the student. The experience gives students the opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills they have acquired through their academic course work to a problem involving the health of the community. Students can become valuable assets to the community agency or organization they work with. Through the Experience, students learn to communicate with target groups in an effective manner, to order priorities for major projects according to definable criteria, to use computers for specific applications relevant to public health, to identify ethical, social, and cultural issues relating to public health policies, research and interventions, to identify the process by which decisions are made within the organization or agency, and to identify and coordinate the use of resources at the site. Partners assist students in the development and implementation of projects as well as serve as site preceptors and committee members. Interested individuals and agencies should review the Culminating Experience Guide, available on the MPH website, for additional information about the Culminating Experience.

Program Leadership and Governance

As an accredited program, with an inclusive leadership structure, the CWRU MPH program extends invitations for local public health leaders to participate on the Executive Committee for visioning and long term strategic planning. This includes a series of retreats and planning sessions held throughout the year and intensively during the summer months. Participation in the CRWU MPH Executive Committee can provide community agencies and organizations with insight into the program’s goals, activities, and future opportunities. Individuals are selected based on their history of relevant work and contribution to the field of public health. The program welcomes diversity in the cultural, educational, and professional backgrounds of leadership candidates. The program extends invitations for participation in these roles on an annual basis. However, interested individuals should communicate their desire to serve in this capacity to program leadership. A description of responsibilities associated with this role is available upon request.

Community Health Research and Practice (CHRP) Meetings

CHRP meetings are designed to bring together students, faculty, public health practitioners and researchers as part of a collaborative think tank. These meetings occur throughout the semester focusing on: development and completion of Capstone Projects; learning about ongoing Faculty research projects; networking with Campus and Community Partners; and development of publications and presentations for national conferences and peer reviewed journals. Networking opportunities can connect campus and community partners to students whose interests may match current projects and initiatives. Meetings are generally held on Tuesday afternoons from 12:00- 1:30 in WG-73. A schedule of meetings for the semester is available by contacting the MPH program office. 

Employment, Internships, and Volunteer Opportunities

The MPH program consistently provides information to students regarding relevant opportunities for continued education and professional development. If you are aware of a reputable opportunity locally, regionally, nationally, or abroad please forward it to the MPH program. This information will be forwarded to current students and alumni via relevant listservs as well as highlighted on the MPH program website. If you are interested in recruiting an MPH student for involvement in a specific opportunity, the program has many opportunities for partners to directly solicit student involvement. CWRU MPH students have become valuable assets for a number of campus and community projects and generated work that has greatly improved the organization. The presence of an individual to champion or advocate for specific projects, increases the likelihood of student involvement.

Guest Lectures and Presentations

The CWRU MPH program is a 42 credit hour program, during which students take a mixture of core, major, elective, and seminar courses designed to ensure competency across a broad spectrum of domains. Campus and community partners are encouraged and invited to present and facilitate relevant sessions throughout the year.  Guest lecture positions and presentations can help community agencies and organizations increase name recognition and awareness among the student body. The diversity of education, experience, and expertise among campus and community partners has allowed for a variety of presentations designed to engage, spark interest, and meet the unique learning needs of our student community. Often, the MPH program will reach out to individuals, directly requesting their assistance. However, communicating with the MPH program to propose an idea for presentation is appreciated.

Continuing Education

The CWRU MPH program is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health and charged with developing a process for ongoing continuing education. The program holds a bi-annual Innovations Conference near the end of both the fall and spring semester for the presentation of student Capstone projects for continuing education credit. Both events include invited keynote addresses from national and international public health professionals. Fall Preview, the all student orientation held on the first day of classes each fall, is another continuing education opportunity, with a keynote address from a regional public health expert. The program is also interested in collaborating or co-sponsoring other local and regional events for the public health community. If you have an idea, event, or speaker in mind for which you would like to collaborate, please contact the MPH program office.

Mentoring and Professional Advising

Whether mentoring a student new to Cleveland, advising a student through a mid-career change or sharing your professional and education history to a prospective student, there is a constant need for assistance in the professional preparation of MPH students. Campus and community partners are often called upon to meet with students based on a known area of interest, specific project, or organizational preference. The idea is to stimulate thinking and expose students to the growing variety and diversity of public health professionals affiliated with the CWRU MPH program.  Often, an MPH faculty or staff member familiar with the work of a community partner makes a referral to a student, or we learn of an innovative new approach being implemented in the field and send an email introduction in order to begin a relationship for the student that extends beyond the walls of the university. These relationships can foster the future leaders of community agencies and organizations. This occurs on an ongoing basis and is often the entrée into additional engagement with the program for campus and community partners. 

Community Service and Service Learning Activities

From Case for Community Day to National Public Health Week, the MPH program works with students to determine relevant community and service learning activities to engage students, faculty, and staff. These events also occur throughout the year, as local agencies and organizations are working to support a relevant cause. In addition to working directly in the community, several service-learning activities have been tailored to extend learning beyond the classroom for real world application. Organizations interested in getting a project started should feel free to communicate directly with the MPH program to learn how to effectively engage students in these unique service and learning opportunities.

To join us and become involved with the CWRU MPH program, please contact Andrew Morris, MPH, Director of Community Based Education at arm161@case.edu or 216.368.1967.