Skip to main content

Department of Public Health - Student Corner: Practicum Locations

Resources for MPH, MPH-D, Dental Certificate and Dual DMD/MPH-D and MPH-SOMA students | A.T. Still University - College of Graduate Health Studies

Finding a Practicum Location

For some, finding a practicum location can be the most intimidating part of the practicum.  It doesn't have to be!  Finding and approaching sites is something all students do and so far they have all found a place and a preceptor.  Still, it is important to remember that while 365 days sounds like a lot, those days will fly by, particularly if you are procrastinating.  This page is to help you think about places that you might like to conduct your practicum at, and how to approach them.  Your practicum may be conducted anywhere that is providing public health "services".  Think broadly about this.  The network of public health services and organizations is quite diverse.  It can include everything from state health departments and major healthcare systems to local drug treatment centers and homeless shelters to sanitation services or a local community park planning board.   Each of these could possibly serve as a practicum site.  If you are in doubt as to whether a location can be considered a public health facility, contact the Practicum Coordinator, Dr. Greg Loeben (gloeben@atsu.edu).  Use the lists below to help suggest locations that you can use.  If you happen to live in an area where a public health facility has been used before, and you are interested in following up with that location, there may be some advantages.  That location already knows ATSU and its MPH program.  For that reason, they may be more receptive to your inquiries, and they may already have a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with us in place. However, if they have already had students conducting practicums there, they may be tapped out for projects, and may not be able to use you.  So it is not necessarily an advantage to choose a location that has been previously utilized.  

Local Public Health SystemHow to choose a location:  Use the lists below to start thinking about what your interests in public health are, and what facilities are more likely to serve those interests.  If you are in the MPH-D, you do not have to do a practicum that is related to dentistry - in fact, we encourage you to spread your wings and think about interdisciplinary projects or a project completely unrelated to dentistry.  Use the internet - or even a phone book - to choose five public health organizations that are convenient to you and that match your interests.  Again, think broadly and creatively about what organizations in your area are actually providing public health services.  Determine who their clientele are, and what kind of public health services they provide.  That will give you some background to use when approaching them to determine whether they can use you.  Having a particular project you want to work on can be great, however, you do not have to have a project in mind - sometimes the best approach is to explain the practicum to them and ask them what projects they could most use help with.  If the organization has a volunteer coordinator listed, that may be the best person to start with.  Otherwise, their receptionist should be able to connect you to the appropriate person in the organization.  The Practicum Guide (see list of documents on the home page of "Practicum") contains a letter of introduction that you can use to break the ice, though it is best if you talk directly with someone in the organization and competently and confidently explain what you are looking for.  In addition, remember to present your request positively.  Do not make it seem like you will need them to do a lot of work for you and so they will be burdened while you benefit.  Approach them in a professional manner and present yourself as someone with skills that you would like to apply to help their organization.  You are offering to work with them for free.  Present it to them as a win-win opportunity in which you are willing and able to do something that they would value.  If you are unsure about how to approach an organization, please contact the Practicum Coordinator, Dr. Greg Loeben (gloeben@atsu.edu) for ideas and suggestions.  If you can't find a match with that first list of five organizations, do not get discouraged.  Make a new list and start again.  If you continue to run into obstacles, don't hestitate to ask Dr. Loeben or your advisor for advice.

Locations of Practicum Sites Previously Used by MPH and MPH-D Students

Previously Used Practicum Sites - Department of Public Health, College of Graduate Health Studies, ATSU

This Google Spreadsheet contains examples of some of the public health organizations previously used by students in CGHS's MPH and MPH-D programs.

The link will only give you viewing privileges.  If you want a document that you can edit, reorganize, sort, etc., then click on the "File" tab, and choose "Make a Copy...".  This will create a copy of this spreadsheet that is yours alone and you manage it as you like.

Accessing Google Spreadsheets

Accessing Google Spreadsheets

Google spreadsheets should be accessible to "anyone from ATSU with the link".

If you cannot access the spreadsheet as is, you may need to make sure that you're in your ATSU account and not in another gmail account:

From your gmail account, click on your image (or the image icon) at the upper right-hand corner.  In the bottom left-hand corner of the pop-up window, click on "Add account".  Follow the prompts to add your ATSU e-mail and password.  Once your ATSU account is added, you can click on your image, and choose between your regular gmail account and your ATSU account.  You should be able to access the spreadsheet when your are in your ATSU account.

Dentistry in the Community - Resources in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area

Dentistry in the Community Projects and Partnerships: Public Health organizations in the Greater Phoenix Metropolitan area

This Google Spreadsheet contains examples of some of the public health organizations operating in the Phoenix metropolitan area.  Please note that this spreadsheet does not contain a comprehensive list of ALL public health organizations that operate in the area, but it should give you an idea of what organizations can be included in the "public health" sphere, not just for Phoenix, but for your own area as well.

The link will only give you viewing privileges.  If you want a document that you can edit, reorganize, sort, etc., then click on the "File" tab, and choose "Make a Copy...".  This will create a copy of this spreadsheet that is yours alone and you manage it as you like.