More Than Just an Intern: Utilizing the Post-Graduate Medical Education Model to Increase the Value of Field Placement Experiences for Public Health Program Graduates

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Abstract

Internships and field placements are a critical component of public health education in that they help ensure that future public health workers are able to apply theory and concepts to practice. However, developing successful practice-based experiences is dependent on both public health agencies and academic institutions collaborating to identify the competencies students should possess on entry into the field. It also takes considerable time and resources from public health departments to make these field placements successful. Seeking to innovate on existing field placement models in an effort to provide a rich relationship between students and practitioners, the Tennessee Department of Health has developed a new fellowship experience for recent graduates of public health programs that draws on the multidisciplinary aspects of post-graduate medical education. The Commissioner’s Fellowship in Public Health provides recent graduates an opportunity for practical high-level experiential learning in place of—or prior to—additional academic work. The program has two overarching goals: (1) to address emerging needs of public health in the areas of health policy and primary prevention while providing leadership, professional opportunities, and practical experience to recent graduates that will serve as a foundation for a career in public health; and (2) to provide a high level, diverse, and extended post-graduate population health experience prior to committing to a particular field.

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