The Community-Oriented Public Health Practice (COPHP) program, a 2-year in-residence MPH degree program in the University of Washington School of Public Health, has partnered with Public Health–Seattle & King County (PHSKC) since 2002 to create a mutually beneficial set of programs to improve teaching and address community-based public health problems in a practice setting. The COPHP program uses a problem-based learning approach that puts students in small groups to work on public health problems. Both University of Washington–based and PHSKC-based faculty facilitate the classroom work. In the first year for students, COPHP, in concert with PHSKC, places students in practicum assignments at PHSKC; in the second year, students undertake a master's project (capstone) in a community or public health agency. The capstone project entails taking on a problem in a community-based agency to improve either the health of a population or the capacity of the agency to improve population health. Both the practicum and the capstone projects emphasize applying classroom learning in actual public health practice work for community-based organizations. This partnership brings PHSKC and COPHP together in every aspect of teaching. In essence, PHSKC acts as the “academic health department” for COPHP. There are detailed agreements and contracts that guide all aspects of the partnership. Both the practicum and capstone projects require written contracts. The arrangements for getting non–University of Washington faculty paid for teaching and advising also include formal contracts.
This article describes a partnership between University of Washington's Community-Oriented Public Health Practice program and Public Health–Seattle & King County to create a mutually beneficial set of programs to improve teaching and address community-based public health problems in a practice setting.
Community-Oriented Public Health Practice Program, Department of Health Services, University of Washington School of Public Health (Mr House, Mss Hartfield and Bogan, and Dr Nicola), and Public Health–Seattle & King County (Mss Hartfield and Bogan), Seattle, Washington.
Correspondence: Peter J. House, MHA, Community-Oriented Public Health Practice Program, Department of Health Services, University of Washington School of Public Health, UW Box 357660, Seattle, WA 98195 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
We recognize the continuing contributions of the Community-Oriented Public Health Practice (COPHP) faculty and the public health practitioners at Public Health–Seattle & King County who mentor our students. We also recognize the leadership of Frederick A. Connell, MD, MPH, founding director of the COPHP program.
The authors declare no conflicts of interest regarding this article.