Office of Applied Public Health (OAPH)

The Office of Applied Public Health (OAPH) supports students in applying the knowledge, skills, and theories learned in the classroom to real- world public health issues outside of the classroom. The Office builds relationships between academic, public health and government agencies, healthcare organizations, non-profit organizations, and communities to support practice-based education, research, and service to strategically expand and develop professional skills and competencies of the public health workforce.

Section Links:
MPH Applied Practice Experience (APEx): Practicum & Expedited Portfolio Review (EPR)
DrPH Applied Practice Experience (DAPEx)
DC Metro Urban Health Program (UHP)



The Applied Practice Experience (APEx) is the applied learning experience required of all Master of Public Health (MPH) students as set forth by our accrediting body, the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH). The APEx is an umbrella term for two tracks available for completion of this CEPH requirement, Practicum or Expedited Portfolio Review (EPR). Guided by your departmental Practicum Advisor/Director, faculty, and preceptors, you will be able to demonstrate the attainment of MPH foundational and program-specific competencies, learn from public health professionals from a range of public and private sector disciplines, and jumpstart your public health career (or career transition).


If you are new to the field of public health, the Practicum Experience serves as an important first step in a public health career, providing an introduction to the practical skills and experience necessary for a productive and fulfilling career. If you have had prior work experience, you will find that the Practicum Experience provides the opportunity to hone your skills or to gain new experience in a different area of public health. 

The Practicum Experience is a planned, supervised, and evaluated project in which students gain practical skills and knowledge via a 120-hour real-world work experience with partners outside of GWSPH. During the Practicum, you will work under the supervision of your department’s Practicum Advisor and a Site Preceptor to develop skills and confidence as a public health professional contributing to a community’s resources and to the solution of public health problems. 

Students will plan, submit, and log their practicum in the online practicum system, STEPS by Exxat (Exxat). To learn how to use Exxat visit the GWSPH Source: Practicum Page. Preceptors may find guidance in our Preceptor Online Practicum System Guidebook

Expedited Portfolio Review (EPR)

MPH students with substantial public health experience relevant to their department/track may request to waive the MPH Practicum and substitute elective credits. Prior to matriculation, applicants must have completed at least 5 years of relevant, full-time, public health experience in which they can demonstrate the application of at least 5 competencies. To request an Expedited Portfolio Review, please contact your program Practicum Director.

Practicum Contact Information by Department

Environmental and Occupational Health
Peter LaPuma -
Sabrina McCormick - 
Jonathan Yoo -

Epidemiology & Biostatistics
Ann Goldman -
Joseph Schmitthenner-

Exercise and Nutrition Sciences
Michelle Stevens- 

Global Health
Nino Paichadze -
Geri Kemper Seeley -
Health Policy and Management
Students with Last Names A - L | Melissa Goldstein -
Students with Last Names M - Z | Lara Cartwright-Smith -
Karey Harrigan -

Kelley Vargo -
Christiana Ebiasah -
Vivianne Alves De Sa-
Sara Cho Kim -
Malika Hook-Muhammad - 
Ann Rich - 
MPH@GW Advising -

Prevention and Community Health
Donald Strong -

For IRB related inquiries, please contact:
SPH Student IRB Liaison -

For technical assistance with the online practicum system (Exxat), please contact: 

For all other inquiries:
Dr. Gene Migliaccio, - Associate Dean for Applied Public Health
Dr. Jennifer Skillicorn, - Director for the Office of Applied Public Health



The Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) Program at GWSPH is a leadership degree that trains public health thought leaders and practitioners ready to shape public health policy and practice and lead organizational change in the U.S. and worldwide. The DrPH Applied Practice Experience (DAPEx), a requirement of the DrPH program, benefits students by providing an opportunity for each student to apply their public health leadership and management skills in real-life settings with a sponsoring agency/organization.

For more information, please visit the DrPH website.



The DC Metro Urban Health Program (UHP) is a voluntary public health-focused, service-learning initiative open to all residential GW Public Health students. Over the course of the Fall and Spring academic semesters, students from various professional backgrounds and fields of study are placed into Learning Communities according to their skills and interests to participate in meaningful community engagement. 

Within a Learning Community, students are charged with implementing a health education/promotion project developed around community-identified needs and latest best practices. Projects are implemented, analyzed, and adapted for each specific Partner Site the Project Team serves. Partner Sites include community-based clinics, schools, government entities, non-profit organizations, and/or various living communities.

Students are also provided professional development trainings and resources to ensure they have the tools needed for meaningful, mutually beneficial engagement with community partners. This program provides students with an opportunity to translate their public health knowledge learned in the classroom to practice in the larger DC community while gaining essential team and leadership skills.

For more information, please fill out our interest form, or reach out to us at

About UHP


The GW Urban Health Program envisions a diverse workforce of culturally mindful, skilled professionals who effectively and efficiently collaborate in interprofessional teams, ultimately to support and promote healthy behaviors among individuals and communities.


To create powerful learning experiences for GW public health students to mitigate DC Metro’s community-identified public health challenges and promote healthy outcomes in the shared community. 

We Believe… fostering a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community for all, and do not tolerate any values or acts of racism, discrimination, and anti-oppression in our student communities and engagement with our site partners. establishing an environment that supports the future public health workforce in their individual and interprofessional development.

We Value…

...individual and community agency and population impact as it relates to the quality of life.

...reciprocity, ensuring mutually beneficially exchanges for all stakeholders.

...intentional collaboration and shared leadership.


All residential public health students are invited to apply and are placed into Learning Communities (LC) according to their skills and interests to:

  • Perform community needs assessments
  • Design, Implement & Evaluate health promotion service projects
  • Engage directly with community members
  • Collaborate in teams with shared leadership

Minimum requirements:

  • Commit an average of 15 hours/month (2-4 hours/week), not including commute time, from October through April
  • Participation in completing required background check, fingerprinting, and/or additional screenings as applicable (TBD depending on community partner site requirements)
  • Previous experiences with service, health education and promotion, and leadership preferred


  • A special designation on your academic transcript 
  • Verified content to add to your resume and/or Letters of Recommendation (upon request) 
  • Out-of-classroom experiences - go beyond the lecture halls and books 
  • Connections with partners throughout the District - crucial for future practicums, culminating experiences, and job opportunities
  • Relationships formed with new colleagues - meet friends from different disciplines 
  • Access to content experts, faculty, and practitioners - many within your Learning Community 
  • Orientation to Washington, D.C. - for those less familiar with DC, a chance to explore with peers
  • Deeper awareness, understanding, and value of yourself, others, health, and healthcare 
  • The chance to hone your time management skills and to learn to lead a balanced life 
  • FUN! - make the most of your time at GW

Learning Communities

Our Learning Communities bring together diverse individuals with varying skills and experiences to the same table to address various health-related issues and concerns. GWSPH student participants, known as Urban Health Advocates (UHAs), are partnered with UHP Project Assistants (PAs), community site partners, and subject matter experts/coaches to form a Learning Community.

Within a LC, a group of 7-10 students take the lead on implementing a health education/promotion project developed around community-identified needs and latest best practices. 

This year we will be facilitating the following Learning Communities:

Family Engagement

Family Engagement projects partner with young children and caretakers of young children to provide supportive strategies that address children's health, including healthy activity, nutrition, education, and stress management and mental well-being for family units.

Healthy Teen Scholars

High school youth enrolled in our DC public school system who are interested in health careers are the main focus of this service project. UHA students and these high school youth, ages 14-19, will tag team on lunch & learns, after school activities, health career nights, GW campus visits, community outreach, and adolescent health issues.

Adult Health Literacy

This LC serves a wide range of community groups within the adult population.  Projects center around goal setting, self-management strategies for maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and building awareness of specific diseases and conditions.  Past partnerships have included housing and transitional work-bed programs for individuals experiencing homelessness, women's support centers for those living or at risk of HIV, clinics and hospital systems.

Community Partners


Past & Current Partners

Many thanks to our community partners. We are honored to work alongside you towards achieving personal and communal healthy living in the District. Partner Sites include community-based clinics, schools, government entities, non-profit organizations, and various living communities.

Potential Partners

If you are a public health practitioner, clinician, educator, policy-maker, and/or administrator who is committed to enhancing health in the community and mentoring emerging health professionals, get involved. If you would like to oversee projects that enrich the services of your organization which may otherwise be impossible, join us. If you think it is important to teach those in academia of what works in the real world of health promotion, contact us today. 

Whether you are looking for extra volunteers or are interested in establishing a longer-term partnership, we would love to hear from you at!


Are you a GWSPH student interested in participating on a team of like-minded professionals? Apply today to be an Urban Health Advocate!

Applications for the 2021-2022 academic year will open on August 30 - September 17, 2021. If you would like to sign up for updates and/or more information on the program please fill out our interest form.