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Student & Alumni Achievements

Student & Alumni Achievements

East Tennessee Alumna Co-Authors Article on Field Placement Experiences

Dr. Christian Williams, 2014 alumna of the Doctor of Public Health in Community Health program in the East Tennessee State University College of Public Health, has authored an article in Pedagogy in Health Promotion.  The article, “More Than Just an Intern: Utilizing the Post-Graduate Medical Education Model to Increase the Value of Field Placement Experiences for Public Health Program Graduates,” discusses developing successful practice-based experiences that provide competencies necessary for students entering the field of public health.

[Photo: Dr. Christian Williams]

Dr. John Dreyzehner, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Health is lead author of the article. Mr. Eric Harkness, director of the Office of Health Policy for the Tennessee Department of Health, is an additional co-author.

Because internships and field placements are a critical component of public health education and because developing these internships takes considerable time and resources from public health departments, the Tennessee Department of Health has developed a new fellowship experience for recent graduates of public health programs that draws on the multidisciplinary aspects of post-graduate medical education.

“Field placements and internships are a critical component of public health education as they allow students to apply theoretical concepts to practice,” states Dr. Williams who currently serves as Public Health Competency Coordinator for the Tennessee Department of Health. “In an effort to continue to bridge the gap between academia and public health practice, the Tennessee Department of Health developed a fellowship conceptually modeled after post-graduate medical education. This framework allows recent graduates an opportunity to engage in experiential learning through public health rotations.”

The program she references, the Commissioner’s Fellowship in Public Health, provides recent graduates an opportunity for practical high-level experiential learning in place of or prior to additional academic work. The program seeks to address emerging needs of public health in the areas of health policy and primary prevention while providing leadership, professional opportunities, and practical experience to recent graduates that will serve as a foundation for a career in public health.  It also attempts to provide a high level, diverse, and extended post-graduate population health experience prior to committing to a particular field.