Requirements

All students are required to complete a minimum 150-hour Applied Practice Experience (APE) under the guidance of a qualified preceptor. Most students will complete the APE at the local health department, public health agencies, community based organizations, or non-governmental organizations. Students will be evaluated on application and achievement of selected Public Health Competencies. Often times, the APE will provide a framework for the final MPH culminating experience. The Applied Practice Experience must be approved by the preceptor, track advisor, and ISMMS Office of Public Health Practice prior to embarking on it.

In the past, students have met this requirement by working at the community level, for example, in East Harlem; at the city level, working with the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene; and at the international level, working on a disaster relief project in a foreign setting.  Whatever the student’s choice, the focus is on immersion into the setting selected.

Examples of selected sites include:

  • Center for Active Design
  • City Harvest 
  • Concrete Safaris
  • Drug Policy Alliance
  • Gay Men’s Health Crisis
  • GBC Health
  • Harlem Health Promotion Center
  • Harlem United
  • Health Equity Initiative
  • International Rescue Committee
  • Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
  • MINDS Foundation, Gujarat, India
  • Mount Sinai Health System
  • New York Academy of Medicine
  • New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene
  • New York Mobile Integrated Healthcare Association
  • Northern Plains Tribal Epidemiology Center, Rapid City, South Dakota
  • Pfizer, Inc.
  • Regeneron Pharmaceuticals
  • United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF)
  • We Act for Environmental Justice
  • William F. Ryan Community Health Center

For more information on the APE requirements, please refer to the Applied Practice Experience Guide

Note: Students who matriculated prior to Fall 2018 should reference the previous version of the Applied Practice Experience Guide found on Blackboard.

Applied Practice Experience: Student Profiles

Describe your Applied Practice Experience (APE).
The goal of my applied practice experience was to become familiar with the necessary steps needed to lead a successful health education program that mobilizes community residents into action and civic engagement. The project itself could be described as creating and developing curriculum centered around social determinants of health in a NYCHA development known as Dyckman Houses in Inwood, Northern Manhattan. My practice site was WEACT for Environmental Justice.

How did you find your Applied Practice Experience?
The person who later became my preceptor was a guest lecturer in the Introduction to Environmental and Occupational Health course. I approached him after the lecture and asked if he knew of any projects at WEACT that would be applicable to the APE requirements. He invited me to one of WEACT's membership meetings to discuss the program in further detail.

What about this project was most appealing to you?
I have always been passionate about education and worked in an elementary school out of college. I wanted to learn how Community Based Organizations write a curriculum and implement health education. I knew I wanted to work with a non-profit since I have a desire to start my own one day.

How have you grown professionally as a result of your Applied Practice Experience?
My APE reinforced that I like a structured work environment where guidelines and expectations are clear from the beginning. I also learned the importance of using sound evidence in the development of curriculum and to make sure you are writing in a way that is accessible to a diverse group of learners.

Did you learn anything new about yourself during your experience?
I learned that non-profit work isn't easy but it’s something I enjoy. Community based organizations like WEACT are doing the vital work of disseminating public health knowledge to communities. Community based organizations act as a bridge between the research community and the general public.

How has your Applied Practice Experience influenced your career goals?
Eventually, I would like to start my own non-profit to address a public health issue. I think this experience reminded me how important it is to give leadership to the community you are serving. Writing curriculum and starting education initiatives is something I hope to incorporate in my own organization.

Do you have any advice to share for students who are just beginning this process?
Take time to write some long term and short term goals for yourself. Try to choose an Applied Practice Experience that will help you reach these goals. Be clear with your preceptor about what your skills are and what you would like to take away from the experience. Most importantly, have fun!

 

Describe your Applied Practice Experience (APE).
My applied practice experience was an internship at the community health center, Harlem United. This organization was established over thirty years ago, in New York City, during the peak of the AIDS epidemic. My role was focused in the Hepatitis C Program, working closely with the patient navigator of this department. My daily tasks ranged from administrative duties, regularly updating the central database, and conducting biweekly educational/support group presentations for our patients.

How did you find your Applied Practice Experience?
I found my APE through Program Administration. I inquired after receiving the weekly "Friday Finds" that are sent to all MPH students, and followed up after applying for the position.

What about this project was most appealing to you?
This experience was one of my first opportunities working with a public health organization and directly servicing a target population at risk. I was intrigued by the legacy of Harlem United as a major resource for minorities, and their active engagement with the community. Also, being able to work towards spreading awareness of Hepatitis C, a disease that has contributed to taking away a family member of mine, was a motivating factor for me as well.

How have you grown professionally as a result of your Applied Practice Experience?
This experience has made me a better listener, facilitator, and has allowed me to exercise some of the invaluable information I've learned in my classes in a real life setting. Using my knowledge of health literacy, health education, and working among a team of doctors, nurses, and other health care providers has made me more prepared for working in diversified environments in the future.

Did you learn anything new about yourself during your experience?
I learned that I have an incredible amount of compassion for those in disenfranchised communities, and properly servicing others is a goal I want to continuously incorporate in my career and personal life. I also know from this experience that if you are humble enough, you can learn from people from all walks of life, no matter how different your stories might be.

How has your Applied Practice Experience influenced your career goals?
Whether that may be working with at-risk young women and children abroad, expanding mental health services in rural populations, or finding probable solutions for preventable diseases in urban areas, I know that my work will be dedicated to prevention, education, and action.

Do you have any advice to share for students who are just beginning this process?
My advice for any students who are just beginning this process would be to enter your Applied Practice Experience with an open mind and heart, and to try to immerse yourself as much as possible in this journey. Ask questions, think outside of the box for solutions, and look at this as an opportunity to grow-- not just in the field of public health, but as a human being with compassion and understanding of different communities and the factors that affect them.

Describe your Applied Practice Experience (APE).
My applied practice experience was at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary at Mount Sinai implementing a POD system. My preceptor was the Director of the Ambulatory Care Service Department, Mrs. Johanna Sica, RN, MSN, ANP, CEN. A POD is a team of one attending physician, two residents, one registered nurse, and one nursing aide working as a team and assigned to see specific patients.

The POD model is a change in the structure where nurses and residents are assigned an attending to work to see a patient collectively. Under the traditional model, some nurses may unintentionally do more than others. For instance, Nurse A does not like to do a particular procedure thus will go on to the next task leaving the previous one for nurse B. However, Nurse B might be with another patient, and the task is put off. By having a POD system the nurse, as well as the rest of the team, is responsible for doing everything for the next available patient.

For the project, I compiled the data provided by the rest of the team to compare the number of patients seen by the POD system versus the traditional model. This was broken down into the number of patients seen per shift as well as per day. Towards the end of my Applied Practice Experience, we compiled the estimated savings and produced a Return on Investment (ROI) for the duration of the pilot.

How did you find your Applied Practice Experience?
I saw the listing on Friday Finds that posted at the end of the week but was initially tentative about applying. It was actually a second-year MPH student who was a TA for one of my classes that encouraged me to apply for the position. 

What about this project was most appealing to you?
After I spoke with Mrs. Sica, she went through some projects the department was conducting, and the POD system seemed relevant to what I was learning in class. It crossed many concepts from my track specific courses such as team management, collaboration, and leadership to ultimately effect change.

How have you grown professionally as a result of your Applied Practice Experience?
I learned how to work in an environment that is constantly changing and to conduct myself to accommodate those changes. As a student, you always know when your next assignment is due or when you have a test. However, at NYEEI one day you would be asked to compile data to make a simple pair T-test, and the next would entail doing a literature review to create SMART objectives for another project. There was always the possibility of being asked to do something that you were tested on a while ago yet you still have to keep it fresh in your mind, and everyday something novel might happen that changed your tasks for the day.

Did you learn anything new about yourself during your experience?
I learned that I do my best when I discuss my work. Towards the end of my experience,  I was enrolled in the Health Care Management seminar course. This is a course taken with students in in the HCM track that acts as a safe space to talk about your projects and keep you on track. I had an idea of what I wanted when I entered the course, but the feedback I received from my peers made the project more robust. Since that seminar, I continued to talk to my peers about of projects I have been working on to gain that same insight and learn together.

How has your Applied Practice Experience influenced your career goals?
My experience has solidified my aspirations of working in hospital administration and made me aware of the many opportunities in the field.

Do you have any advice to share for students who are just beginning this process?
Get to know your professors and find a mentor. Be proactive and talk to them as well as your peers. They have amazing stories that brought them to this institution and want to share that passion through teaching the next generation of healthcare professionals. They might know of a position that you would be interested in or write you a letter of recommendation when the time comes. They want to see you succeed to become the next success story. So go out and do it!

Describe your Applied Practice Experience (APE).
My applied practice experience took place at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), as a Health Research Training Program (HRTP) Intern. The mission of the HRTP internship program is to train the next generation of public health leaders, teaming the interns with experienced mentors confronting real-life challenges in the field. Within the DOHMH, I was based in the Division of Disease Control, in the Bureau of Communicable Disease (BCD).

Specifically, I was interning for the Zoonotic, Influenza and Vector Bone Disease Unit. The goal of my project was to summarize NYC tick-borne disease surveillance data. During the course of the project, I was responsible for entering clinical and risk factor data from 2016 case investigations for anaplasmosis, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and rickettsialpox into the database, and cleaning the data. I then analyzed the data using SAS 9.4 and ArcGIS to characterize the demographics and risk factors. The 2016 data was compared to previous years' data to assess trends. For the completion of my project, I compiled summary reports of the findings for internal use and public use.

During the course of my internship, I had numerous responsibilities aside from my project. I had the opportunity to carry out case investigations for newly diagnosed cases of anaplasmosis, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and rickettsialpox, legionella, West Nile virus, and canine leptospirosis. The disease investigations required me to: contact laboratories and clinicians to confirm a patient's diagnosis with the respective disease; complete chart reviews; as well as interview patients or patients' household members to obtain information on all clinical presentations as well as risk factors that they engaged in during their exposure/incubation period.

How did you find your Applied Practice Experience?
I discovered HRTP while searching for future employment opportunities with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. I decided it would be a great opportunity to intern with the NYC DOHMH to see if this was the path of public health I was interested in pursuing.

What about this project was most appealing to you?
My APE afforded me the opportunity to work in the exciting field of infectious disease surveillance - which constantly changes based upon the time of year and any outbreaks that may occur. The most appealing aspect of my project was that, as being a part of a city agency, I was able to serve as a liaison between New York City residents, clinicians, and larger government agencies.

How have you grown professionally as a result of your Applied Practice Experience?
Being a part of the Health Research Training program solidified my desire to work for a local government agency, where I would have the opportunity to serve as liaison between New York City residents, clinicians and larger government agencies. I learned essential skills to practice infectious disease epidemiology, such as interviewing, and advancing my analytical skills.

Do you have any advice to share for students who are just beginning this process?
Use your APE to further your career. Going into my MPH, I knew I wanted to work in infectious disease surveillance and epidemiology - so I applied to MPH Programs and opportunities that would allow me to succeed in this field, and to connect me with the network I needed to make this happen.

Describe your Applied Practice Experience (APE).
I conducted my project with the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH). Specifically, I worked with the Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Use Prevention, Care and Treatment (the "Bureau"). 

In efforts to tackle the opioid epidemic in NYC, The Bureau is currently implementing several large-scale initiatives to increase access to buprenorphine (an effective treatment for opioid use disorder). These initiatives are mainly focused on the supply side via training and providing technical assistance and resources to support new buprenorphine prescribers in NYC. Programmatic and surveillance data suggest, however, that there is not sufficient demand for buprenorphine treatment among those who might benefit from it. To more effectively engage people in need of treatment with buprenorphine, this gap in demand needs to be better understood.

I had the opportunity to explore this gap in demand by developing and conducting six  focus group interviews at treatment centers and syringe exchange programs on the Lower East Side and Staten Island. The six focus groups were split into two categories: (1) individuals with opioid use disorder who were receiving buprenorphine treatment; and (2) individuals with opioid use disorder who were not receiving buprenorphine treatment. The goal of my project was to explore and better understand the barriers and facilitators to buprenorphine treatment for people with opioid use disorder, with the ultimate goal of contributing to an increase in demand for this life-saving treatment.

My role and responsibilities at the DOHMH consisted of: submitting to the institutional review board (IRB), developing all focus group materials (demographics questions, flyers, verbal consent forms, focus group scripts and focus group questions), moderating focus group interviews, and analyzing the focus groups transcript data.

My next step with the DOHMH is to submit my capstone project, complete with recommendations for a future campaign to increase the demand for buprenorphine in NYC.

How did you find your Applied Practice Experience?
Dr. Jessica Kattan, Director of Primary Care Integration Unit, Bureau of Alcohol and Drug Use Prevention, Care and Treatment at DOHMH gave a presentation to two of my MPH courses about the opioid epidemic and we instantly connected.

I spoke to the director after class about my passion for opioid relapse prevention and she brought me in for an interview. With the support of Jessica Kattan, Alex Harocopos, PhD, M.Sc., Director of Qualitative Research, and Denise Paone, EdD, Senior Director of Research and surveillance, I developed and carried out my practicum.

What about this project was most appealing to you?
I was given the opportunity to create my own project that the DOHMH plans on using for future campaigns to increase the demand for buprenorphine in NYC.

I am able to be at the front lines of the opioid epidemic with top professionals in the field, and I have the opportunity to make a difference and help save lives.

How have you grown professionally as a result of your Applied Practice Experience?
Through my experience, I was able to move from the classroom to the forefront of the public health fight against the opioid epidemic. I grew professionally by planning and completing all steps of a project I developed. My research is aimed at creating a future initiative of relapse prevention for New Yorkers with opioid use disorder.

How has your Applied Practice Experience influenced your career goals?
My experiences from this internship have confirmed and strengthened my desire for a career in opioid overdose and relapse prevention.

Do you have any advice to share for students who are just beginning this process?
With the resources and opportunity the Mount Sinai MPH program provides, you can find an internship that is meaningful to you. Find or create a project that you are passionate about because you have all of the resources to carry out meaningful, life-changing work.