Online Program

Implementing a student consulting project in a NYC community based organization: One approach to assure MPH student competencies and improve substance abuse treatment services

Monday, November 4, 2013

Sean J. Haley, Ph.D., MPH, Department of Health and Nutrition Sciences, Brooklyn College & CUNY School of Public Health, Brooklyn, NY
Jennifer Butler, Quality Improvement Department, Phoenix House, New York City, NY
Applied public health practice is a cornerstone of public health education. As such, student internships are intended to help students integrate and apply their classroom knowledge in a real world setting, but public health is rapidly changing and employers have voiced concern about graduate students' managerial capacity. At the same time, the Affordable Care Act has expanded access to substance abuse treatment services, and specialty care treatment programs are scrambling to meet the increased demands for workforce development, performance outcomes monitoring, infrastructure and business decision support capabilities.

In the Fall of 2012, Brooklyn College's Department of Health and Nutrition Sciences, part of the consortium CUNY School of Public Health, partnered with Phoenix House, a national non-profit substance abuse treatment provider, to develop and implement 7 student-led performance improvement consulting projects within the parameters of a semester-long course. These projects were uniquely designed to allow students to leverage their classroom learning to analyze barriers to service access and quality and to develop process recommendations and products to improve service delivery. Additionally, the project sought to build students' professional skills in organizational assessment, data collection, critical thinking, and communication in a managerial setting.

A summary of the lessons learned from the projects will be shared including a critical review of the institutional resources required of both the sponsoring academic institution as well as the host community agency, the challenges and mutual learning that both sides experienced in working together, and recommendations for the future.

Learning Areas:

Administration, management, leadership
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Identify the capacity requirements of community based organizations to host, and academic institutions to sponsor, graduate student public health consulting projects Evaluate the potential competency gains for students and service quality improvements for community agencies

Keyword(s): Substance Abuse Treatment, Community-Based Partnership

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Not Answered