Student Experiences

The Region V Public Health Training Center helps strengthen the future public health workforce by connecting public health students with experiential learning opportunities. These may involve working with faculty to collaborate with practice agencies on capacity building projects, or student field placements that support public health organizations in addressing the social determinants of health.

Student Field Placements

We provide a number of field placements to graduate and undergraduate students in public health and other health professions. These field placements allow students to directly contribute to their community while completing necessary program requirements for graduation.

2018-2019 Academic Year
Examples of Our Student Field Placements

Check out this example from a student at Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership who interned with Columbus Public Health to develop a plan to address adverse childhood experiences.

Sara’s field placement with St. Joe’s Pritikin Intensive Cardiac Rehabilitation: Intensive Cardiac Rehabilitation: Lifestyle Medicine to Reverse the Progression of Cardiovascular Disease

Student Testimonials

I truly enjoyed working with the Indiana Rural Health Association. The culture was incredibly inviting and fostered an environment of personal growth and career development. Through this experience I intend to expand my skillset by incorporating technological advancements and statistical programming techniques to streamline data analysis, management, collation methods in the public health arena.


Indiana Rural Health Association

Thank you for taking me on as a recipient of this generous external funding source via RVPHTC. It made it possible for me to work at the St. Joe’s Pritikin ICR full time which was invaluable to my educational experience this summer. I am grateful and appreciative!


St. Joe's Pritikin Intensive Cardiac Rehabilitation

My field placement with Children’s Hospital of Michigan allowed me to grow as a social worker. This included improving my communication, active listening, and advocating skills. I was able to serve a medically underserved population who are easily misunderstood from an outside perspective.


Children's Hospital

My field placement with Stearns County Public Health allowed me to understand the true meaning of meeting a client where they are at.


Stearns County Public Health

My field placement with The Farm at St. Joe’s allowed me to gain more experience in creating health education materials and helped me to learn more about nutrition education in a non-academic setting.


The Farm at St. Joe's

My field placement with the Center for Public Health gave me exposure to public health organizations that I did not know much about. Also, this placement allowed me to learn and help create a program that this organization may continue to develop in the near future.


Indiana University Center for Public Health Practice

My internship is at Children’s Hospital of Michigan at the Detroit Medical Center. I interned in Pediatric Heart Transplant Social Work. This field placement allowed me to learn and grow via serving the community around me in Detroit. I learned a large amount about transplant as well as how to work with patient’s in crisis via crisis intervention. I also learned a lot about working with chronic illness children, and how to best serve them inter-professionally.


Detroit Children's Hospital

I had a great experience interning with Kent County Health Department. It was the first time I took a data analyst role in a project, and I learned how to manage, analyze and present data using programs such as MS-Access, MS-Excel, SPSS and ArcGIS.


Kent County Health Department

I was able to learn very much from interning at the Center for Public Health Practice at IUPUI. It was the first professional role I have ever had and I learned to communicate professionally, manage programs, work with my community, and plan for future events with multiple stakeholders.


Center for Public Health Practice at Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis

My field placement with Urban Link Village at Renaissance Village Community Center has allowed me to learn about the privileges I had growing up and how I can use that privilege to serve others. I gained a better understanding of my own cultural values and how my values have evolved.


Urban Link Village

My field placement with RefugeeOne allowed me to further understand what a career in Social Work will allow me to do, as well as the challenges and barriers that come with this job, and has been essential for me in me figuring out which direction I want to head in regarding social work. I gained so much from working with RefugeeOne, as they gave me an incredible opportunity to explore what it is like to work with refugees, particularly in the political climate today.



My field placement with the Putnam County Health Department was a wonderful experience. I was able to take on a project collecting primary and secondary data. I learned about data collection, analysis, and dissemination. I also had the opportunity to conduct focus groups with minority populations. It was wonderful hearing their views about their health and their community.


Putnam County Health Department

My field placement with Teamwork Englewood in Chicago, IL allowed me to appreciate the valuable assets this community and communities similar to this has. This experience assisted me in aligning my personal and professional goals with practical experiences in order to assist in building community capacity from within vulnerable communities through community-led initiatives. This was an amazing overall experience as a researcher. I credit this field placement experience through the Region V Public Health Training Center for providing all the support our cohort needed to truly engage in this beneficial work.


Teamwork Englewood

I came to understand the complexity involved in executing public health programs within a large city. So many people need to become vested in a plan and support the details of execution in order to achieve real improvements. I realize now the enormous task it is to bring so many people to the table and get work done.


Columbus Public Health

I gained a lot from my internship at the Lenawee County Health Department. Health care has so many scrunches and I had never seen it from this side. Unfortunately many people are not able to afford health care, and underinsured or uninsured. I believe everyone should have the right to health care, and health departments provide just about every service one could possibly need for those that qualify. It was enlightening to see how a more rural, low income community is able to have their needs met.


Lenawee County Health Department

My field placement with the Michigan Organization on Adolescent Sexual Health has allowed me to continue serving the youth of my hometown, Detroit, MI. There is a greater need for youth-centered programs and activities and I was enthused to be apart of this process. Highlighting the importance of healthy and positive sexual health behaviors to youth can serve as a health promotion tool, and to help prevent negative health outcomes related to sexual health such as unintended pregnancies, prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, issues with mental health, indulging in risk-taking behaviors, etc.


Michigan Organization on Adolescent Sexual Health

My field placement experience with the Bariatric Surgery Program at Michigan Medicine allowed me to learn how a medical program runs and operates and how health professionals interact with patients. I was able to work directly with patients and learn what specific aspects of their lives influenced their health outcomes. After talking with many patients and learning about their individuals experiences, I was able to identify common themes that had positive and negatives outcomes on the health of this population. Once I identified those themes I created handouts and a newsletter to address these themes and help the population health as whole.


Bariatric Surgery Program at Michigan Medicine

My field placement with Neighborhood HealthSource allowed me to serve our prenatal population, a population that I had never previously worked with. I gained a tremendous amount of knowledge about the social factors that affect this population. It was also the first time that I took on a leadership role on a project, from which I learned valuable leadership skills, such as effectively communicating in an interprofessional team to ensure collaboration and facilitate training sessions.


Neighborhood HealthSource

My field placement with the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan allowed me to serve a community that I hope to work in, in the near future. I gained so much from attending the Kidney Path workshops hosted by the individuals working at the foundation. I was able to learn the ins and outs of a non-profit including scheduling, project management, and sat in on important meetings regarding stakeholders!


The National Kidney Foundation

My field placement with the Tobacco Control Section at Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has allowed me to gain confidence in my abilities to perform at a professional level. I have been given useful feedback in regard to my work, and the success I had in my field placement has provided me with a healthy confidence in my ability to work in a professional setting in public health. I practiced how to make professional decisions about the scope of the analysis I conducted, learning to rely on my judgment and asking for assistance when needed. I worked to extract the most useful information and find engaging ways of presenting it to different audiences.


Tobacco Control at MDHHS

My internship with the Farm at St. Joe’s showed me what it meant to work with people who are passionate about what they do. Like them, I want to stand up for populations who deserve to have access to the same medical care and resources as those living in wealthier neighborhoods. At the Farm, I interacted with diverse community members, practiced how to tailor public health information to various audiences, gained leadership experience with volunteer groups, and learned sustainable farming practices. These are practical skills I will use in the public health field when I work at the intersection of health, education, and relationships.


The Farm at St. Joe's

I gained so much from interning at St Joseph Mercy Hospital Cardiac Rehab Outpatient Program. I learned how to communicate nutrition information effectively to an audience I had never worked with before through teaching cooking lessons and for the first time got to counsel patients on their eating habits. I also found 3 incredible mentors (my supervisors) who I continue to learn from even after my internship has finished, and I am much more confident communicating nutrition information and educating others on functional nutrition. I also learned how different people have different needs depending on their situation and part of being a dietitian is working through this with them. For example, a man living in a senior home may not have a stove and so microwaving potatoes is an appropriate suggestion for him to eat more vegetables. This internship has been a turning point for me and I couldn’t have done it without the generosity of RVPHTC funding.


St. Joseph Mercy Hospital Cardiac Rehab Outpatient Program

My field placement with Peoria City/County Health Department allowed me to participate in multiple community programs, and get familiar with the local public health structures, organizations, connections between local communities and public health organizations. I shared my research regarding prioritizations for 2020-2023 Community Health Improvement Plan (CHNA) and Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) for the Tri-county area. . . I had opportunities to meet many people from the Central Illinois region to support the Tri-county public health, and observe how the various partners are achieving measurable outcomes in their areas of influence. I have learned how the different organizations collaborated with each other, what the local public health department’s responsibilities are, and some challenges they are facing. I realized how important the roles they are playing are to make our community healthier, safer, and stronger. All those inspired me to like the community public health jobs more.


Peoria City/County Health Department

My field placement with the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute Mobilizing Action Towards Community Health (MATCH) was a blessing because I got to work with a preceptor who had her MPH in Community Health Education. My undergraduate degree was in Community Health Education and I had never worked with it. I learned from her how to work as a community health worker. My main project was to develop a program that will inform the creation of a coalition of community health workers in Wisconsin. This is the first coalition of CHWs in this state and, therefore there was limited sources for me to refer to in Wisconsin. However, it was a great opportunity for me to work hard and produce something that will be useful in creating this coalition. This pushed me to work with some states which have a functioning coalition of CHWs such as Indiana and Kansas. Through this project I got to talk to experts I did not know before starting the internship. I was completing this field placement to wrap-up my MPH degree, It was a blessing being in an office setting where most of the staff had MPH as well. I learned from them how to transfer classroom material to real world or to a work place. I learned how they used theories that we learned in the classroom to create programs and complete projects. As an individual who is switching careers, it was very helpful to be in such a setting. Learning how they incorporated time management and professionalism was a great experience to me.



Overall this was a great practicum experience. My preceptor encouraged me to take the reins to focus on a project that would be mutually beneficial to us both. I was challenged to think outside of the box, manage my own time, and compete a project almost entirely on my own. At first I was intimidated and was not sure where to even begin, but then after talking with my advisor and my preceptor I was able to develop a clear plan. I was able to utilize survey development, engagement with the community via phone calls, data collection, surveillance, and analysis. One of my biggest takeaways from this practicum is the shift in thinking from my background in nursing. As a nurse I often feel like I proceed through my shifts checking boxes, completing tasks, and carrying out doctor’s orders. At times, it can feel rather mindless. However, in public health practice I may be the one challenged to decipher what information is needed, how to collect this information, and then what to do with the information.


OhioHealth Family Medicine

This summer I served as the Healthy Places intern for Columbus Public Health. My summer started with me learning what programs were already being implemented and how the logistics worked from week to week. After that, I helped to implement programs like Bike Rodeos for Safe Routes to School, Walk with a Doc, Columbus Art Walks, and Bike to School Day. All the while, I learned about Columbus Public Health and their strategic focuses on key issues like chronic disease and trauma-informed care. I was exposed to the departments utilization of the Community Health Assessment and the formation of things like logic models and community coalitions.

Eventually, my summer culminated in a brief evaluation of the Columbus Art Walks program. Through that evaluation, I designed a survey and collected responses, which I then analyzed and presented. Throughout the process, I had more help than I could have hoped for and learned from not only my mentors but other people in the same department, all of whom were so nice.

I highly recommend Columbus Public Health for any practicums, internship, or projects!


Columbus Public Health

I interned at American Indian Health and Family Services (AIHFS), a non-profit that serves the American Indian/Alaska Native community and other underserved populations in southeastern Michigan. The overarching goal of my internship was to help AIHFS maximize their impact in reducing food insecurity and its associated health problems, including poor mental health and obesity. To do this, I analyzed survey data from a food provision program called Fresh Prescription, in which physicians “prescribe” fruit and vegetable consumption and provide monthly produce baskets to low-income patients with chronic disease. I presented the results of my analysis to community members and received their feedback. I also created evaluation tools for the AIHFS community garden and for their culturally-tailored SNAP-Ed program, a newly implemented curriculum that focuses on traditional food practices.

I am grateful for the support of the Region V Public Health Training Center which has allowed me to gain practical, professional experience applying epidemiological methods and communication strategies in a public health context, while enhancing my understanding of the needs, assets and capacities of Detroit’s indigenous community.


American Indian Health and Family Services