Contacting Potential Preceptors

MPH 2016 Candidate Obiageli Okafor and her preceptor Minal Rahimtoola, MPH 2014
MPH 2016 Candidate Obiageli Okafor and her preceptor Minal Rahimtoola, MPH 2014

Now that you have identified several potential host sites and preceptors, it’s time to reach out to them. You can either do this directly or ask someone to make the initial contact or introduction on your behalf. We offer some suggested language for your outreach at the bottom of this page. First, some considerations:

If you are uncomfortable reaching out, you are not alone!

Many students find this to be an awkward experience, and if this sounds like you, we encourage you to read through these materials and talk with your course faculty or the Practice Staff if needed. Remind yourself that hundreds of Harvard Chan students each year successfully navigate this process and find preceptors, and we are confident you will soon be one of them!

Is your desired host organization already registered in CareerConnect?

Organizations that are already registered Employers on the Harvard Chan CareerConnect system have most likely had some contact with the School’s Office of Career Advancement or the Practice Staff. They may have posted jobs or Practicum opportunities in the past, which means they have been interested in working with Harvard Chan students or alumni in the past and may be interested this year, too.  It is helpful to check CareerConnect for the registered contact(s) from the agency you are interested in and consider whether this is someone you would like to work with or could talk with first, before reaching out to your potential preceptor, who may not be registered with CareerConnect or even know that their agency has worked with us before. If a potential preceptor knows that his or her agency has a history of working with Harvard Chan, they may be more interested than if they weren’t aware of the relationship, which is not unusual.

The basic format of a starter email is short, but formal:

Dear Dr./Ms./Mr. [Last Name]:Introduce yourself
How you found this person
About the MPH program practicum requirement
Why you are interested in them
Indication of interest in a follow-up conversation or re-direct to another person
Thank you
Your professional signature