Meeting local needs while developing public health practice skills: A model community-academic partnership

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Public health graduate education helps future practitioners to develop relevant skills, yet students have few opportunities to gain experience with community-level public health practice beyond work with health departments. Although the importance of academic-community partnerships is mentioned in the classroom, many students believe that they lack the time to pursue hands-on public health work in their local communities. Despite this, community-based organizations recognize the potential benefits of collaborating with public health students. This article describes the inception and implementation of the Connection Community Consultant Group, a program designed to increase interactions between students of public health and community-based organizations as well as to provide a forum for the application of students' developing public health knowledge and skills. Students who participate in the Connection gain public health practice experience in areas such as environmental health, healthcare access, health education, and violence prevention. The Connection serves as a model program for a mutually beneficial exchange: Graduate students can develop public health practice skills, and community-based organizations can capitalize on these skills to meet short-term needs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)425-431
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Public Health Management and Practice
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2009


  • Collaboration
  • Community-based organization
  • Education
  • Public health practice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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