Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks before a crowded room

Practice & Community Partners

Practice Explained

Gaining real-world experience in public health is critical for rounding out the MPH experience.  Almost all MCH students will take part in a Practicum, which is a type of Applied Practice Experience (APEx), in fulfillment of a graduation requirement. (Exceptions to this rule: Student with 5 or more years of experience in the MCH field can apply to waive the Practicum and instead take part in an Expedited Portfolio Review.) Detailed information is available in the Applied Practice Experience Guidebook.)

The Applied Practice Experience is designed to help you apply the knowledge, skills, and theories learned in the classroom to real-world public health issues outside of the classroom. During the Practicum, you will have the chance to build relationships, collaborate on multidisciplinary teams, and jumpstart your public health career (or career transition.)

“On student surveys, one thing we consistently find is that students rate the practice opportunities in the Washington, D.C. area as a major reason for selecting GW for their MPH program,” said Donald Strong, MPH, MBA, Practicum Director for MCH students. “Over the years, we have built numerous relationships with public health agencies and community-based organizations that are providing MCH students with excellent opportunities to learn-while-doing and make connections.”

Partnerships with Public Health Agencies and Community-Based Organizations

The GW Center of Excellence in Maternal and Child Health has formal relationships with several agencies and organizations, which are spelled out in a Memorandum of Understanding. Each of these relationships offer our MCH students ongoing opportunities for meaningful practice experiences in the field of maternal and child health:

DC Department of Health (a Title V agency)

Maryland Department of Health (a Title V agency)

Mary’s Center (a community-based organization

MCH Practice Fellowship Opportunities

Faculty mentor: Dr. Monica Ruiz, Co-Director for Practice

The GW Center of Excellence in Maternal and Child Health Practice Fellowship is a competitive opportunity to support a few MCH students who are pursuing their Practicum in fulfillment of their Applied Practice Experience requirement for graduation. Students who are pursuing an MCH internship that is not a Practicum may also apply. An announcement of the Fellowship with instructions for how to apply is made early (January) in the spring residential semester, with recipients announced by April. You can see a full breakdown of the fellowship award schedule below. Recipients receive a stipend of $1,200. 

Click the table below for links to our practice sites:

Practice Fellowship Award Schedule










Practice Fellowship Application

Practice Sites and Project Descriptions

“Practice Fellows may use their $1,200 stipend however they wish to support their living or other costs, such as transportation to and from a Practicum site,” said Dr. Monica Ruiz, iMCH Lab Co-Director. “Fellowship recipients will be required to write a blog post about their work experiences, to help translate the knowledge they have gained for the benefit of their fellow students.”

MCH/Health Policy Joint Fellowship

Faculty mentor: Dr. Monica Ruiz, MCH Co-Director for Practice; Dr. Anne Markus and Dr. Susan Wood, Co-Directors for Policy

New for year 2 of the GW Center of Excellence in Maternal and Child Health will be a Fellowship conducted jointly with the Health Policy and Management Department. In this Fellowship, one MCH student will be matched with one Health Policy student to jointly tackle one specific current health policy issue. The students will investigate the issue and prepare a policy backgrounder, to include recommendations for action.


MCH Student Practicum Opportunities

Our MCH students have a variety of possible places at which to pursue experience in the MCH field. Practice Director Donald Strong works with our students to identify appropriate worksites and develop work plans that address MCH core competencies.

Because of our location in Washington, D.C., we can offer experiences at federal government agencies; state, county, and D.C. departments of health; nonprofit organizations; health-related associations; and hospital and healthcare systems.  Click here to see a list of examples of places where our MCH students have conducted their practice experience.