A highlight of the Harvard MPH in Epidemiology is the student-initiated and faculty-mentored practicum. The practicum gives students the opportunity to apply the skills learned from on campus and online classes  to address a health related issue of interest to the student. Under a combination of group and individualized mentorship by Harvard faculty members, each student designs and implements a proposal for a practicum. The integrative learning experience of the degree program is an oral presentation in the MPH-EPI Practicum Symposium during the final on campus session of the program, 1-2 days before graduation. This culminating experience provides the opportunity for students to showcase their mastery of program competencies to their fellow students and to the wider Harvard community.

During the first June session, students are given an overview of the practicum guidelines, timeline and mentoring process by the Chair of the MPH-EPI Practicum Committee (MPH-EPI-PC). During the fall semester, the MPH-EPI-PC sends a survey to students to brainstorm thoughts on practicum topics. This is followed by a one-on-one video conference of each student with a member of the MPH-EPI-PC. Any student with a well-developed plan for a practicum is invited to submit a description of their proposed practicum along with a list of possible mentors to the MPH-EPI-PC for approval. This process is repeated during the spring semester, with the goal of approving practicum projects and assigning mentors prior to the three-week on campus session in June of the second year.

Students without an approved Practicum at the start of the second year are recommended to take Analysis of Publicly Available Databases for Epidemiologic and Health Services Research (EPI526) in the fall semester of Year 2. EPI 526 describes a variety of publicly available databases based on national surveys and registries. A student may choose a database and research question as the basis for their practicum.

All students will record and present the results of their practicum projects in an online practicum symposium. Additionally, students will also be given the opportunity to present their practicum project in person during the MPH-EPI Practicum Symposium, which is held on campus 1-2 days prior to graduation at the end of May.

Recent Examples of MPH Capstone Projects by MPH-EPI Students

  • Impact of Automated Immunization Registry-Based Interventions on Adult Vaccination Rates in Community Pharmacies: A Randomized Controlled Trial
  • As Assessment of Pediatric Surgical Capacity and the Epidemiology of Congenital Anomalies in Mongolia
  • Regional Variation in Hospitalization in Children with Severe Otitis Media and Mastoiditis in the 2012 Kid Inpatient Database
  • Early Presence of Anti-Angiogenesis-Related Adverse Events as a Potential Biomarker of Antitumor Efficacy in Metastatic Gastric Cancer Patients Treated with Apatnib
  • Regional and National Real-World Healthcare Resource Utilization, Clinical and Cost Outcomes of Type 2 Diabetes Patients Treated with SGLT2i
  • Housing Instability, Smoking and Intention to Quit in Health Center Patients
  • Is there an Association between Left Ventricular Outflow Tract Obstruction and Myocardial Fibrosis in Adult Hypertrophics Cardiomyopathy?
  • Validation of a Tool to Predict Violence and Aggression for Use in the Emergency Department
  • Low Sodium Intake and Cardiovascular Disease Mortality Among Adults with Hypertension
  • Zika Virus Infection in Pregnancy: Risk of Fetal Growth Restriction and Preterm Birth
  • Breast Cancer Stage at Diagnosis Before and After the Affordable Care Act
  • The Effect of Prophylactic Antimalarial Treatment on Birth Outcomes Among HIV-Infected Pregnant Women in Botswana