Through the MPH@Simmons program, students complete a health equity practice experience, the Health Equity Change Project, in their local community. Across the curriculum, key courses lay groundwork for this experience as students develop community-based practice skills, including through an embedded service-learning experience in community organizing and advocacy. Over the final year of the program, students complete the Health Equity Change Project with the support of two planning courses and two implementation courses. This course sequence combines the traditional MPH practice and culminating experiences into a single opportunity during which students design, implement, and evaluate a project that addresses health inequity in their community.
“MPH@Simmons’ commitment to health equity is paramount throughout the curriculum. This clear focus is a call to action that will help students emerge as changed leaders ready to address the crisis of health inequity in the U.S.”
—Rebekah Gewirtz, Former Executive Director, Massachusetts Public Health Association
Through the Health Equity Change Project, students will:
Choose a local health inequity that is meaningful to them to be the focus of their project.
Analyze this inequity to understand the issues surrounding it and points of intervention.
Identify and partner with an organization that addresses health inequity in their community.
Design a project proposal that will address that health inequity.
Implement and evaluate their project in close collaboration with their host organization and community partners.
Develop a final portfolio featuring their applied public health skill set and attainment of program competencies.
By working with an organization in their local community, students benefit from critical practice-based training that will demonstrate their ability to apply skills and techniques learned throughout the program to real-world scenarios. Students have the opportunity to work with and learn from experienced public health professionals in addressing a health inequity in their local context.
Examples of projects could include:
Completing a GIS mapping analysis of water contamination across the city to reveal dynamics of structural racism and preparing a stakeholder report and/or policy advocacy plan to address the city council.
Engaging in community organizing, collaboratively preparing and delivering popular education modules focused on local housing issues and their connection to childhood asthma.
Analyzing federal food policies subsidizing obesogenic food products and creating an app to facilitate national policy advocacy in the lead up to federal hearings on such policies.
Completing a needs assessment focused on occupational hazards for immigrant construction workers and collaborating with local pro bono legal teams to address health concerns.
Creating and implementing a health advocacy and communication plan during the mayoral election, focused on health concerns linked with transportation equity, including organizing stakeholder meetings with candidates and writing a series of opinion editorials and press releases on the health equity issues.
Completing a feasibility study in collaboration with the local health center to launch a mobile health clinic for seasonal migrant farmers and submitting the final proposal and budget for state and/or federal funding.
Students graduate from the program having documented their ability to add value to a local organization and positively impact public health in their community. By the conclusion of the Health Equity Change Project, they will have compiled a portfolio that outlines their project and its outcomes that can be used to advance their career.