INTERNSHIP POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

INTERNSHIP POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

All MPH students in the SOPH are required to complete a minimum of three (3) credit hours in an internship experience (PUH 697). The Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH), our accrediting body, requires that the internship provides an opportunity for each public health student to develop skills in basic health concepts and demonstrate the application of these concepts through a practice experience that is relevant to the students' areas of specialization.  The internship is a practice-based (rather than administrative or research) experience; therefore, the student experience is required to include opportunities to engage with other professionals and to participate in activities that will advance their public health career potential.  Each internship placement is different, but all depend upon the ability of the student to work with minimal supervision.

The internship experience must be appropriately planned, supervised, and evaluated.  Each student undertaking an internship must acquire permission of the student's SOPH advisor and the on-site preceptor/supervisor.  Students are only allowed to complete internships for academic credit.  You must be registered for PUH 697 during the time the internship is being completed.  A minimum of 180 contact hours is required for the MPH internships.  MPH students should have completed all public health core courses before registering for an internship.  Usually, this means that students must wait until their third semester to complete the internship. To be sure about when you are eligible to register for your internship, check with your department's program coordinator.

GRADING POLICY

A final grade will be awarded by the faculty internship advisor and based upon the internship supervisor's evaluation and the student's final products.  All internships are graded on a Pass/No Pass basis.

REQUIRED DOCUMENTS (complete prior to registration)

The student is responsible for the completion and submission of the "UAB School of Public Health Internship Description and Agreement Form." This is a signed agreement between the student, preceptor, and faculty advisor and is to be submitted via the SOPH InternTrack online system.  

This form documents each person’s responsibilities and expectations, including a description of the learning objectives and MPH competencies of the placement, the activities to be performed by the student, and the anticipated final products. The following final products are required for all MPH students completing their internship: Evaluations (Student and Site Supervisor), 5-page minimum paper on the internship experience and a poster presentation.  More information on the final products can be found in the syllabus for the internship course.  The final paper should be submitted via the SOPH InternTrack online system.  Students should contact the Internship Coordinator in the Office of Student Services for deadline regarding all final products.   

Given the nature of public health practice, it is possible that the student may be analyzing, interpreting and perhaps even contributing to the collection of data. If there is any question as to whether an internship will require IRB approval, it is the student’s responsibility to submit an application to the IRB. Please be advised that the IRB approval process might significantly extend the time needed to prepare for an internship; therefore, discuss the scope of your internship with your advisor so that no IRB infractions occur.

REGISTRATION

Prior to registration, students should consult with their academic advisors to determine optimal times for completing their internships. All 180 hours required by the internship should be completed in one semester. Students register for the internship experience through their designated faculty internship advisor. Each department will have an individual course number for the internship experience. Check with your department program coordinator to get the correct course number.

FOR STUDENTS TRAVELING OR COMPLETING THEIR INTERNSHIP ABROAD

For students completing an international internship, you must register with Education Abroad for the UAB Faculty-Led Program: PUH/ENH/EPI/HB/HCO 697 in Various Locations Program. When you reach the program description, click "Apply Now". When selecting UAB faculty member responsible, select your faculty advisor at UAB SOPH. 

INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS (F-1 AND J-1 VISA HOLDERS)

NOTE TO INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS: According to university policy, international students must complete additional requirements for the International Student and Scholar Services office before beginning their internship. Students must apply for Curricular Practical Training ("CPT") by completing the steps listed in the F-1 curricular practical training document here.  The Office of Public Health Practice will complete the academic letter.   

MIDPOINT THROUGH THE INTERNSHIP

The mid-point meeting is an opportunity for you to reflect on where you are in your internship and evaluate what needs to be done for you to gain the most out of your experience.  Approximately halfway through the internship, the student and site supervisor complete the mid-point meeting evaluation via the InternTrack System.  The student should set up a time to meet with your site supervisor and faculty advisor to review this information.  The both the internship supervisor and faculty advisor will need to confirming the meeting took place.

INTERNSHIP POSTER SESSION

At the end of the internship, prior to the end of exams for that semester, a poster session will be held to showcase the internships completed during that semester.  You will receive additional instructions on creating your poster prior to the event.  Attendance is mandatory, as it is a required component to the internship experience.  Failure to attend without permission from the Internship Coordinator will result in a No Pass grade for the internship course.  Limited exceptions will be made for students completed internships out of the state or country, that are completing the MPH program online, or cannot attend due to medical reasons.  Students who are unable to present during the poster session must request for an alternate presentation option by completing a request in InternTrack. This link will be available in your course timeline on the front page of InternTrack. This form should be submitted at least 2 weeks prior to the internship poster session. Click here to see complete poster requirements. 

Alternative Option:  Eligible students may submit a request for an alternative poster option through the Alternative Internship Poster Presentation Request form in InternTrack. Students eligible for this opportunity include those that are still completing internships internationally/out of state, unable to attend due to medical reasons, and/or completing their residency program at the time of the poster session. Completion of the form does not guarantee permission to complete the alternative option. If approved, students will use the PowerPoint template provided on the Poster Requirements page to create a PowerPoint version of their poster. This poster should be uploaded to InternTrack on the same day as the Poster Session (exact date to be announced by the internship coordinator). Students will then be responsible for arranging a time and method of presenting their poster with their faculty advisor (i.e. verbal presentation through Skype, narrated slide, phone call, Go-to-Meeting, etc.).

FINAL PAPER

All students must complete a written assignment and poster at the end of the practicum. The purpose of the assignment is to have the student reflect on the practice experience. This is an opportunity for the student to describe what was done, what was learned, and to place the experiences within the context of the organization, the community and the MPH program. The student should think creatively about his/her contribution to the profession and the professional value of the placement.

For your internship experience, your final paper should contain the following components:

  1. Provide a brief background of the organization where you completed your internship. This information should include the type of organization (e.g. community health center, social service agency, health department, etc.) as well as the mission and purpose of the organization. 
  2. Provide a brief synopsis of the work you completed with your organization. Describe your role in the organization including the projects and activities on which you worked, methods used, key findings and outcomes, your target audience, and who you worked with (include your preceptor's name and title). Be sure to include any other related activities like meetings, retreats, planning events, conferences, presentations, and/or evaluations. 
  3. Describe how your internship experience relates to public health and population health. This can be explained in the context of the core functions and 10 public health essential services. Describe the impact of your work on the public's health. Answer how it relates to your specific public health discipline and your interests.
  4. Provide examples of lessons learned. Provide at least two examples of challenges that occurred during your internship and how you overcame those challenges
  5. List how your activities relate to the MPH competencies and how your activities allowed you to gained competence in these areas. Refer to the current MPH core competencies as well as your track specific competencies. Compare and align the activitites you completed during your internship to these competencies.List the competencies and describe which activities allowed you to gain competence in that area. 
  6. Describe how the competencies (skills, knowledge) you have gained during your MPH internship will impact your future career path and professional development. 

Your paper should be no longer than 5 pages double-spaced (not including references), 12 pt., Time Roman Font, one inch margins. A student's final paper must be submitted through InternTrack during the last week of classes (the internship coordinator will give you the actual date), HOWEVER a student's faculty advisor may request an earlier deadline to review the paper before final submission. Please consult with your faculty advisor for specific deadlines. 

AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE INTERNSHIP

Both the student and the internship supervisor will complete an evaluation via the InternTrack during the last week of the semester. In addition, the student should also submit the agree-upon final products to the same designee.


INTERNSHIP CHECKLIST

  • Check with your department’s program coordinator for any special department/program requirements
  • Identify, choose, and consult with a faculty internship advisor
  • Identify an approved internship site listed on the SOPH website
  • Apply for the internship opportunity in Hire A Blazer, UAB’s Career Management Site
  • Complete and submit “UAB School of Public Health Internship Agreement” via InternTrack
  • If necessary, complete and submit IRB Approval Form
  • If international student, complete and submit appropriate form to the International Scholar and Student Services Office
  • Register for the appropriate course and number of hours
  • Formally check in with your site supervisor and faculty advisor during a mid-point meeting approximately halfway through the internship
  • Submit evaluation forms and final product(s) last week of semester to your program coordinator
  • Submit and attend poster session