A required applied practice experience is integral to the MPH curriculum.
The goal of the Public Health applied practice experience (APE) is to provide students with the opportunity to apply public health academic theory and acquired skills from their concentration to community-based research and service in a practice setting.
While each APE will be different, the experience should link directly to the MPH core competencies and each student’s concentration competencies. It should also provide the student with an opportunity to perform the following skills:
- Demonstrate effective written and oral skills for communicating with different audiences in the context of professional public health activities.
- Apply evidence-based principles and the scientific knowledge base to critical evaluation and decision-making in public health.
- Promote high standards of personal and organizational integrity, compassion, honesty and respect for all people.
- Work collaboratively with diverse communities and constituencies (e.g. researchers, practitioners, agencies and organizations) to advance public health goals.
To begin the Applied Practice Experience (APE), students must complete a learning contract that describes their activities and links them to the foundation and concentration competencies. Find the list of MPH competencies here.
The following steps should be completed, in order, and well in advance of the registration deadline.
- Student identifies preceptor and APE opportunity
- Student submits APE learning contract to instructor for approval
- Student Purchases Professional Liability Insurance
- Practice Coordinator authorizes registration for PH7960
- Student registers and begins APE
Required Professional Liability Insurance:
The School of Public Health requires that all MPH students purchase professional liability insurance while enrolled in the public health applied practice experience course. The purpose of Professional Liability Insurance is to cover you from alleged mistakes that may occur while you are completing your experience in a public health organization. Students who already have coverage must provide documentation; otherwise, students may purchase insurance for a one-time fee of $13.00 through the Georgia State University web store.
The list below provides examples of sites where SPH students have successfully completed applied practice experiences.
|AID Atlanta is the Southeast’s largest AIDS service organization, serving individuals infected and affected by the AIDS epidemic.
|American Cancer Society
|The national headquarters for the American Cancer Society is located in Atlanta. The goal of the American Cancer Society (ACS) is to prevent cancer, save lives, and diminish suffering from cancer. ACS operates programs ranging from research to advocacy.
|American Red Cross, Metropolitan Atlanta Chapter
|The American Red Cross will provide relief to victims of disaster and help people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies.
|Atlanta Community Food Bank
|Founded in 1979, the Atlanta Community Food Bank currently distributes almost 2 million pounds of food and other donated grocery items monthly to more than 800 nonprofit partner agencies in 38 counties in Metro Atlanta and North Georgia. Distributing these donations to low-income Georgians, our partner agencies provide dynamic links between the local community, the Food Bank and our supporters.
|Atlanta Regional Commission – Area Agency on Aging
|As the Area Agency on Aging (AAA), the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) plans and provides comprehensive services to address the needs of the region’s older population.
|Headquartered in Atlanta, CARE tackles poverty through 861 projects in 70 countries, reaching 48 million people in FY 2005.
|In Tanzania, CARE operates programs aimed at improving health and poverty throughout this eastern African nation.
|The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter. The mission is to advance human rights and alleviate unnecessary human suffering. The Atlanta-based Center has helped to improve the quality of life for people in more than 65 countries.
|Center for Black Women’s Wellness
|The Center for Black Women’s Wellness, Inc. is a community-based, family service center. The Center’s primary purpose is to improve the mental, physical and spiritual growth of women and their families and the economic growth of communities.
|Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
|CDC is the principal agency in the United States government responsible for protecting the health and safety of all Americans and for providing essential human services, especially for those people who are least able to help themselves. Experiences have been received in several components of CDC.
|Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta
|Children’s provides medical care to children through 430 licensed beds in two (2) children’s hospitals and sixteen (16) satellite locations around metro Atlanta.
|Covenant House Georgia
|Covenant House Georgia offers a full range of social services and programs, including health, to help homeless and runaway youths become independent and self-sufficient adults.
|Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists
|The Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) is a national professional organization intended to provide support and advice to state and territorial epidemiologists across the United States.
|DeKalb County Board of Health
|The DeKalb County Board of Health provides public health programs and health care services to over 660,000 residents who represent more ethnic groups than any other county in the southeastern United States.
|Georgia Department of Public Health
|The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is the State of Georgia’s public health agency and works through eighteen (18) health districts and 159 county health departments.
|The mission of ECO-Action, Inc, is to protect and preserve the natural environment by encouraging, creating, and supporting ecological education, responsible consumption, development of alternative energy sources, and public participation in addressing environmental issues.
|Emory University School of Medicine Project Aspire
|Project Aspire is a community-based participatory research project conducted by Emory University School of Medicine to design and test an asthma education intervention in Atlanta GA. Emory has partnered with the American Lung Association.
|Emory University Winship Cancer Institute
|The Winship Cancer Institute is located within the Emory University in Atlanta GA. It conducts a comprehensive, collaborative, interdisciplinary cancer research program.
|Fulton County Department of Health and Wellness
|The Board of Health provides public health programs and health care services to residents of a metro Atlanta county that encompasses 529 square miles, and stretches over 70 miles from one end to the other, including most of the City of Atlanta.
|Georgia Budget & Policy Institute (GBPI)
|The GBPI, an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, engages in research and education on the fiscal and economic health of the state of Georgia.
|Georgia Folic Acid Coalition
|The Coalition is dedicated to ensuring that all women of child-bearing age in Georgia receive adequate amounts of folic acid with the aim of reducing birth defects and disabilities.
|Georgia Health Policy Center, GSU
|The Georgia Health Policy Center conducts health-related research, policy development, and program design and evaluation and is located in GSU’s Andrew Young School of Policy Studies.
|The Gorgas Institute
|Tropical Medicine Residency Program, Lima, Peru.
|Grady Health Systems
|Grady Health Systems is one of the largest public hospitals in the Southeast — and includes the 900+ bed Grady Memorial Hospital, Hughes Spalding Children’s Hospital, ten (10) neighborhood/airport health centers and the only level one trauma center within a 100-mile radius.
|Healthcare Georgia Foundation, Inc
|Healthcare Georgia Foundation is a statewide, private independent foundation located in Atlanta, Georgia. Its mission is to advance the health of all Georgians and to expand access to affordable, quality healthcare for underserved individuals and communities.
|HealthMPowers promotes health-enhancing behaviors among students, school staff and families to improve the quality of health and academic achievement of young people. It serves the metropolitan Atlanta area and other locations within Georgia.
|JHPIEGO, an international health organization affiliated with The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, builds global and local partnerships to enhance the quality of health care services for women and families. JHPIEGO’s focus is on training and support for health care providers throughout Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and the Caribbean.
|Kaiser Permanente, America’s leading integrated health care organization, has twelve (12) medical offices and two (2) specialty centers located in metro Atlanta area.
|The mission of the Marcus Institute is to provide information, services and programs to people with developmental disabilities, their families, and those who live and work with them by providing clinical, behavioral, educational and family support services for families and children with mild to severe disabilities.
|Orange County Health Care Agency
|The Health Care Agency (HCA) of Orange County, California is a large and dynamic public agency, comprised of approximately 2,700 employees who are responsible for providing a wide range of public health and health care services to the Orange County community.
|Porter Novelli developed a public awareness campaign for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) called Learn the Signs. Act Early, to inform parents intended to increase autism awareness in the public.
|Saint Joseph’s Mercy Care Services
|Mercy Care Services includes an array of programs for medically underserved persons and is staffed by 119 employees including medical professionals, social services and mental health specialists.
|Southern Regional Health System
|Southern Regional Health System is a member of PROMINA, Georgia’s largest nonprofit hospital alliance. A hospital and outpatient care facilities are located in Clayton County (an Atlanta metropolitan area county).
|Southside Medical Center
|Located in the metro Atlanta area, Southside Medical Center is the largest community heath center in the state of Georgia and one of the ten largest in the United States.
|Task Force for Global Health
|The Task Force for Global Health, formed in 1984 as a collaboration between the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the United Nations Development Program, the World Bank, and the Rockefeller Foundation, addresses international and domestic health and human development.
|US Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine
|CHPPM’s mission is to provide worldwide technical support for preventive medicine, public health, and health promotion/wellness services in all aspects of America’s Army and the Army Community anticipating and rapidly responding to operational needs and adaptable to a changing world environment. It provides worldwide scientific expertise and services in clinical and field preventive medicine, environmental and occupational health, health promotion and wellness, epidemiology and disease surveillance, toxicology, and related laboratory sciences.
|Wesley Woods Geriatric Facility of Emory Healthcare
|Wesley Woods provides health care for older adults including a geriatric hospital, a long-term nursing care facility, an independent living facility for seniors, an outpatient center and a health center.
|World Health Organization
|The World Health Organization is the United Nations agency for health. Practicum placements have occurred in headquarters in Geneva and the EMRO and PAHO regional offices.
Skilled practitioners who are willing to serve as preceptors or APE supervisors represent a critical component of the applied practice experience. Effective preceptors are those that possess the following qualifications:
- Extensive experience in public health, health care or a related discipline;
- Engaged in work that fulfills the requirements of the APE;
- Experience as a mentor or supervisor;
- Ability to spend the required time with the student; andAbility to provide periodic feedback and guidance to the students through formal evaluations, regularly scheduled meetings and other means as described in the learning contract.
APE Site Qualifications
Exposure of future public health professionals to practice relies to an important extent on the collaboration of a diverse set of public, private, and not-for- profit organizations engaged in public health and other related disciplines. Eligible organizations are those that offer practice settings with the following characteristics:
- Field experiences that are commensurate with the student’s concentration or specialty track;
- Well-defined activities that enable students to apply academic theory in real world situations;
- Engagement of experienced preceptors or practicum supervisors as outlined in the learning contract; and,
- A work environment, including work space, conducive to successful performance.
How do I become a preceptor?
Contact the Applied Practice Experience and Career Services Department at [email protected]
Possibly. If you are working in a public health organization and demonstrating competencies from your coursework, you may explore an APE opportunity in the same agency. Please contact the practice coordinator to discuss.
- Any practice site must be discussed with your advisor and approved by the practice coordinator.
- Consider that the APE offers great networking opportunities; students completing the APE at their place of employment miss out on this aspect.
Finding a site is a key step in developing your APE. Before this can become your formal APE site, it is important to do the following:
- Discuss this possible site with the practice coordinator. She will help you determine if the site is appropriate to conduct your APE.
- Obtain approval from the practice coordinator. She may already be familiar with the site or the program of interest within that organization.
- Verify with the practice coordinator that an affiliation agreement exists between GSU and the potential site (if not, the coordinator will facilitate that process).
- Complete the learning contract, including signatures.
- Purchase professional liability insurance through the GSU web store.
The first step is to refine your idea. There are several ways of doing that:
- Complete a gap analysis – does this opportunity afford you skill development that will aid in your job search
- Discuss your idea with the practice coordinator and your advisor. They can help to make your idea more specific and suggest possible APE sites.
- If you have a site in mind, discuss your idea with a staff member of the organization or a prospective preceptor.
- Assess how well your idea gives you the opportunity to use what you have learned in your specialty track or concentration in a real world setting.
You can learn more about proposing an APE by visiting the Office of Applied Practice Experiences and Career Services.
Gaining as much field experience as possible will help you in the long-run. Students can do as many internships as they can reasonably fit into their schedules, but would need to meet the requirements above in order to “count” the internship as your APE.
The study abroad office provides scholarship opportunities to graduate students meeting specific criteria. Please visit the Georgia State Study Abroad Office for more information.
The terms are often used interchangeably, but in the context of the MPH program, the APE is a field-based experience for which students receive course credit. An internship is a more commonly used term that refers to an opportunity to gain experience in a field. If you see an advertisement for an internship, it is possible to pursue that experience as an APE; it would simply require additional planning to ensure academic requirements are met through the experience.
The APE is an opportunity to bring academic theory, specifically what you learned in your concentration, into practice.
- The culminating experience is typically research-oriented, whereas the APE is mostly hands-on in nature.
- You are eligible for the APE as soon as you complete all the core courses AND at least 2 courses in your specialty track. The culminating experience on the other hand is the last academic requirement of the MPH degree.
- You may work on the culminating experience at the same time that you work on your APE and you may focus on a common topic or field; but, the two may not be the same thing.
- In some instances, the APE can help identify interesting research gaps, which could serve as a building block for your culminating experience.
- The APE and the culminating experience are SEPARATE and DISTINCT academic requirements, for each of which specific academic credits are awarded.
You should complete your core courses and two of your concentration courses before beginning the APE. Start your APE search at least one semester prior to the semester you’d like to begin.
School of Public Health
Georgia State University
P.O. Box 3995
Atlanta, GA 30302-3995
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School of Public Health
Georgia State University
140 Decatur Street - Suite 400
Atlanta, GA 30303