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Preventive Medicine Curriculum

Preventive Medicine Residency Program Curriculum 

Year 1 

Preventive Medicine residents and fellows are required to complete academic training leading to the Master of Public Health (MPH) degree.  The training program provides funding for all MPH requirements, as well as protected time to attend classes, study and complete assignments. Although most trainees prefer to integrate MPH coursework with clinical, practicum and teaching activities over the two- year program, trainees are encouraged to complete the majority of the MPH courses during the first year of training. Most trainees complete eight or nine of the required 14 courses before beginning the second year of training. The MPH didactic training provides a foundation for the practicum and research activities in the second year. The MPH degree is offered through the Blended MPH Program (WCMPH) based on the Medical School campus in Worcester.  It is provided through the UMass/Amherst of School of Public Health and Health Sciences (SPHHS).  The WCMPH program is blended with the SPHHS online Public Health Practice Program. This allows students to take some of their courses in the classroom and others online.  The option allows for flexibility in scheduling classes and makes it possible for trainees to take MPH courses while they are participating in off-site rotations.   The WCMPH program fulfills the requirements of the American Board of Preventive Medicine by offering courses in biostatistics, epidemiology, health services administration, environmental health, and social and behavioral influences on health.  

During the first year, trainees typically enroll in three courses per semester during the academic year and one to two courses during the summer session. Live classes offered during the fall and spring semester courses are conducted once a week for 14 weeks; summer session on-line courses are offered in six-week blocks with courses conducted twice a week. On the Medical School campus, courses are taught from 5 to 7:30 p.m, allowing trainees flexibility to schedule practicum, clinical, teaching and/or research experiences during the day.  The requirements for the MPH degree include a total of 42 credits, with up to six credits earned through the required MPH project. 

Although MPH coursework accounts for the largest time commitment during the first year, all preventive medicine trainees are required by ACGME to complete the equivalent of two months of clinical work during each year of training.  This requirement is typically met by working in outpatient settings on a longitudinal basis.  The sample schedule for Year 1 reflects a typical activity plan, but our program offers flexibility with a strong emphasis on developing a schedule that is closely aligned with our trainees’ career interests and goals. 

Year 2 

All trainees are required to complete the equivalent of 12 months of practicum experiences in public health and preventive medicine. Trainees participate in practicum experiences throughout the two-year program. However, the practicum experiences are concentrated in the second year of training, after completion of the core MPH courses. The schedule and content of practicums are designed to provide trainees with opportunities to develop required and optional competencies and to maximize career goals. The practicum experiences are individualized for each trainee based on baseline competencies, MPH course work completed and career interests and goals. Practicums are supervised longitudinal learning experiences which are typically scheduled for one half day to two days a week for two to six months. 

The program offers required and elective practicums for trainees. Each trainee must complete the required practicums. However, given the diverse background of trainees in the program, flexibility exists within required practicums. For instance, trainees participating in the required  Public Health Agency practicum have a choice of public health sites, projects and activities. 

The following practicum experiences are required of all trainees: 

  • The equivalent of two months, full-time, in a public health agency.  This required rotation typically takes place over three to four months with residents spending two to three days/week at the agency.  Examples of public health agencies include the following:  state, regional, or local departments of public health, federal public health agencies such as the ODPHP and the CDC, and international agencies such as the WHO. 
  • The equivalent of one month, full-time, working on a project with our CDC-funded UMass Worcester Prevention Research Center.  Residents are introduced to current projects and choose a topic/activity of interest. 
  • A three month, part-time, rotation in clinical preventive services in our Benedict Practice/Family Medicine Clinic.  Residents complete one session per week seeing patients and working on a quality improvement activity related to clinical prevention. 
  • A two-month, part-time, rotation in clinical and community nutrition with the UMMS Director of Nutrition Services.  Residents see patients and engage in community-based programs for one to- two sessions per week during the rotation. 
  • The equivalent of two months, full-time, in a clinical elective related to preventive medicine, (e.g., Sports Medicine, Refugee and Immigrant Health, Addiction Medicine, Occupational Medicine, Correctional Medicine, etc.) 

In addition to the required practicums listed above, trainees have many options to participate in elective practicums related to career interests. Trainees works closely with their faculty advisor to schedule elective practicums that will advance the development of competencies and enhance career options. Elective practicum experiences are available in a wide variety of organizations and settings including academic medical centers, public health and community agencies, health maintenance organizations, community health centers, and research institutes.  

Sample Schedules 

The sample schedules for Year 1 and Year 2 are provided to illustrate the degree to which practicum, clinical, and scholarly work are integrated throughout the two year training period.  As indicated in the examples, the majority of practicums, clinical rotations, and scholarly activities are longitudinal in nature.  This provides our trainees with the opportunity to become involved with projects and activities over a longer period of time, and become integrated team members at the training sites.   

Sample schedules for year 1 and year 2

Clinical and Practicum Training Sites 

Our training program provides a wide variety of sites for clinical activities, practicum work, and scholarly projects.  The table below includes a number of sites that are available for our trainees.  Trainees are encouraged to work with the program director and faculty advisor to identify and develop additional sites that may provide career-related experiences.  Practicum agreements have been developed and implemented in a number of individualized venues over the past several years. 

Clinical and Practicum