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.

For more information regarding MPH-EPI students previous practicum experience and topics, please visit the Field Practice Data website.

Recent Examples of MPH-EPI Student Practicum and Culminating Experience Projects

  • Evaluation of Post-Treatment PET Scans for Cervical Cancer
  • Association between Substance Use and Emergency Department Resource Utilization
  • Association of Major Orthopedic Fractures in Hospitalized Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) or Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) using the National Inpatient Sample Database
  • Assessing the Impact of an ACLS-guide Smartphone Application on the Performance of Healthcare Providers during a High-fidelity Cardiac Arrest Simulation.
  • Common Social Determinants of Health as Independent Predictors of Adverse Childhood Experiences and the Derivation of a Clinical Prediction Rule: Findings from a Longitudinal Quality Improvement Study
  • Associations between State-Level High School HIV Education Policies and Adolescent HIV Risk Behavior
  • Examining Associations Among Race/Ethnicity, Stigma, and Health Conditions for Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Adults Living in New York City
  • Association Between Race and Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation in Patients with Cryptogenic Stroke