The Practicum is a community-based learning experience required of all first-year MPH students that is embedded within the spring quarter’s PBHL 550 course (Community-Based Prevention Practices). During the academic year 2012-2013, the First-Year Practicum will be solely devoted to program planning and evaluation activities.
The practicum constitutes a supervised, hands-on public health experience within community-based settings enabling students to apply public health concepts and methods to real world public health problems. In addition to the applied learning, students will continue developing communication, critical thinking, synthesis, problem-solving, and decision-making skills. The practicum is also a reflection of Service-Learning in that structured practice activities of benefit to a specific community agency or organization are linked to students’ academic training. Ultimately, these efforts seek to enhance students’ professional development and provide public health practice experience under the guidance of a community-based public health professional. PBHL 550 course co-directors, course facilitators, and site preceptors jointly supervise and grade students. A stipend is not allowed. The 120-hour experience is required of all full-time students. Up to 20 hours of the practicum may be completed prior to the spring quarter.
The practicum objectives seek to prepare students to:
1. Integrate theory and research with practice;
2. Apply public health concepts and methods to solve real world problems;
3. Acquire public health practice experience;
4. Enhance knowledge and practice skills;
5. Gain new knowledge and skills working to solve public health problems;
6. Gain new skills in working as a member of multidisciplinary teams; and
7. Widen the scope of professional activities, relationships, and networks.
SITE PLACEMENT PROCESS
The Director of Community Projects (DCP) will be posting a list of project descriptions submitted by community preceptors. If you need assistance with your resume or cover letter you can send a draft to the DCP, or the Steinbright Career Center (link is shown below). Please treat the site search like a job hunt – keep your communications professional, respond promptly to emails, and be clear with potential preceptors about your availability. Please make sure all communications are personalized to a specific site (do not send the same email to multiple sites). See below for resume and cover letter guidelines and examples.
The list of projects grows throughout the winter quarter as sites continue to submit projects. If you wish to work with a different site not on this list, please arrange a meeting with the DCP or email him with the phone and email of any potential preceptors so that he can get in touch with them to determine the feasibility of the project. You may work or volunteer at a site on your own without DCP approval, but no hours may be accrued towards the practicum requirement until the DCP has reviewed a signed Learning Agreement. Because all practicum projects are unpaid, any paid hours you are working at a site must be accounted for separately from your practicum hours. Your placement is confirmed only when the DCP receives a copy of your Learning Agreement signed by you, your preceptor, and Dr. Villanueva (or your course facilitator).
Learning Agreement (to be submitted to Jon Cass in hardcopy, electronic if OK if approvals are done by email). The student's course facilitator gives final approval, or Dr. Villanueva if you have an early placement). This is a one to two-page document signed by the student and site preceptor outlining project deliverables and learning objectives. The learning agreement must include a detailed timeline indicating when the various tasks of the student's practicum will be attained. The Learning Agreement is due as soon as possible after finding a site and confirms the student's placement.
Community Site Profile (to be submitted to Jon Cass in hardcopy, please also upload to Blackboard; the student's course facilitator or Dr. Villanueva gives final approval). This is due two weeks after the student starts accruing hours at the site. The Site Profile should be one to two pages and describe the organization where the student will be working (i.e. history, philosophy, values, mission, structure, constituencies, resources, personnel, etc.). Students should interview their preceptors to complete the Site Profile; students may also consult the organization’s web page. Site Profile guidelines are below.
Time Sheet (to be submitted to Jon Cass in hardcopy at the end of the practicum). This time sheet is designed to keep track of the total hours spent working at the site. This sheet requires the signature of the student's preceptor (or someone they designate) for each day the student spends at his/her site.
The site placement deadline is Monday, March 18, 2013. Students who start the practicum before the spring quarter can arrange whatever schedule works for both them and the site preceptor as long as the 120-hour requirement will be met by June 10th, and no more than 20 hours are counted before the start of spring quarter (April 1st). The site schedule should be detailed in the Learning Agreement. A schedule of ten weeks at the practicum site would require 12 hours per week to reach the 120-hour requirement.
The final product for the practicum can take many forms, and might consist of designing and piloting a specific program, its implementation and/or evaluation. Some practicum projects become the basis of a 2nd year Community-Based Masters Project (CBMP). The product or deliverable should be clearly described in the project description document provided by the preceptor. If the preceptor listed multiple projects in their initial description, the student’s Learning Agreement (written by the student and signed by the student and preceptor) should detail the project deliverable(s). Students are also required to develop a poster of their Practicum project to present at the June poster event. Students may work in groups at their practicum site, and can co-present a single poster.
Practicum projects are expected to avoid Institutional Review Board (IRB) requirements. Some projects may have received IRB approval prior to the student joining his/her site, and the student can be added to the IRB paperwork. Non-clinical site activities (meetings, site visits etc.) are encouraged, as are internal quality improvement initiatives and evaluations. Students should not have access to patient identifiers or protected health information without IRB approval.
WEEKLY PRACTICUM DISCUSSIONS WITHIN SMALL-GROUP THURSDAY CLASS SESSION
To ensure appropriate practicum guidance and oversight, students are also required to update their course facilitator and peers on a weekly basis. These discussions will occur during the Thursday class session, and are intended to foster collective learning among students assigned across different sites and projects.
Please ensure that your goals and objectives are advancing within the context of your site and project, and remember that you are ultimately the one responsible for guaranteeing its completion once you, your Preceptor, and course facilitator have agreed on a proposed plan of action. If you perceive that there is a problem, please speak with the DCP or your PBHL 550 facilitator immediately so that you can address any issues impeding your progress.
JUNE 11th, 2013 POSTER PRESENTATION
A required poster session synthesizing the practicum project you undertook serves as the culmination of PBHL 550. Please note that you will also be graded for developing an abstract and poster as well as for attending the exhibit. In preparation for this exhibit, each student is required to develop the following components:
1. Abstract (upload to Blackboard in Word format, requires approval of your Preceptor AND course facilitator prior to submitting a final copy to Jon Cass who will include all abstracts in a printed booklet for the poster event). You are responsible for developing a 250-word maximum (text) electronic synthesis of your practicum project. Please ensure that the format of your abstract is consistent with the type of practicum project that you undertook.
2. Poster (upload to Blackboard in Powerpoint format (one slide), approval of its content by your Preceptor is required prior to submitting it to your PBHL 550 course facilitator for review and approval). The poster session is the culmination of the work undertaken in PBHL 550, and provides an opportunity to showcase your practicum’s accomplishments to the School’s faculty, course facilitators, peers, and preceptors. The final PowerPoint draft of the poster must be sent electronically to your Preceptor for his/her review and approval prior to submitting it to your course facilitator. Final review of its content will be done by Jon Cass before any poster is sent to the printer. Information on poster printing can be found on the practicum website. Students are responsible for all printing costs. These can range between $35-100 depending on where and when the printing is done.
At the end of the poster exhibit, students are expected to remove their posters from the boards and take them home. For those willing to donate their posters to the School, we are asking that you take your posters home with you after the exhibit, and deliver to Jon Cass (13th floor Bellet) the next day.
ACCOUNTABILITY AND PROFESSIONALISM
Below is a list of behaviors the School expects its students to exhibit within the context of their community-based learning responsibilities. You are representing yourself as well as the School and Drexel University when undertaking a practicum within a community-based site.
1. Be punctual;
2. Be respectful of all persons with whom you interact;
3. Dress professionally;
4. Honor confidentiality: what you see and hear on site remains on site;
5. Expect to be on-site 12 hours per week over the duration of your practicum. If you are employed and need latitude to complete your practicum work, please speak with your preceptor early on to find a mutually convenient resolution. It is your responsibility to fulfill all practicum obligations.
6. Exhibit the same intensity, rigor, and commitment at your community site that you have displayed in the context of your classroom learning. All communications, whether in person, by phone, or by email should be conducted in a professional manner.
Your Thursday class meeting will also provide an opportunity to discuss your practicum experience and learn from your peers. The intent is to provide oversight across the duration of the practicum, while fostering group learning among students.
In addition to being graded for your PBHL 550 class work to be completed in the spring quarter 2013, the practicum and poster presentation represent 40% of your PBHL 550 course grade. Please be aware that your Preceptor, course facilitator, and course co-directors jointly assess your practicum performance.
Please contact Jon Cass with questions.
Class of 2013 Practicum Abstracts
Drexel SCDC Resume Resources
Example Resume 1
Example Resume 2
Example Cover Letter
Learning Agreement Guidelines
Site Profile Guidelines
2013-02-04 Project Update
2013-02-07 Project Update
2013-02-14 Project Update
2013-03-06 Project Update
Project Description Form (for new preceptors)
One-page Practicum Description
Poster Printing Resources
Poster Template 36 x 48
Poster Template 36 x 56
Poster Template 48 x 72
Drexel Instructional Media Services Graphics Lab (cheapest Drexel printing option, please read instructions)
Drexel Center for Scientific Communication and Outreach (please read instructions)
All posters must include the Drexel Dragon at the top left. 36" x 48" (3 feet by 4 feet) are the minimum poster dimensions and 48" x 72" (4 feet by 6 feet) are the maximum dimensions.