APEx: Practicum & EPR

GWSPH Practicum Board

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 applied practice experience allows each student to demonstrate attainment of at least five (5) competencies... the school assesses each student's competency attainment in practical and applied settings through a portfolio approach." (CEPH, 2018). All students at GWSPH must complete an APEx in order to graduate. 

At GWSPH, 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 Practice Team, 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).

Resources specific to students and current and/or future preceptors can be found through the resource tabs on the side menu. 

Disclaimer: Information on this webpage supersedes any other documentation that may exist in regard to the APEx and/or EPR.

Applied Public Health Events

Advocacy and Activism: Professional Development Series with Dr. Jameta Barlow 

Friday, January 27th @ 2pm EST: Register

APEx 101 Sessions

              Wednesday, February 1st @ 12pm EST: Register

             Thursday, February 2nd @ 8pm EST: Register

Practicum Fair

Friday, February 10th 3-5pm EST (virtual via Handshake). Registration 

Kaiser Health News (KHN) is the newsroom at KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation), producing in-depth journalism about health issues. Together with Policy Analysis and Polling, KHN is one of KFF's three major operating programs. KFF is an endowed non-profit organization providing information on health issues to the nation. Join the GWSPH Career Services to learn more about internships and practicum opportunities at KHN on Friday, February 17th @ 12pm EST. Register


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 community partners outside of GWSPH. During the Practicum, students will work under the supervision of their department’s Practice Team 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).

Descriptions of Practicum Experiences by Department

  • Biostatistics
    • In the Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, the Practicum experience might include activities such as: working or consulting on research projects involving data entry, cleaning or analysis; designing studies in collaboration with investigators, including faculty or partners in government or the private sector; developing or contributing to manuscripts for publication; or developing complex modeling techniques, among many others. Work product examples include literature reviews, database development, written reports, presentations, etc.
  • Environmental and Occupational Health
    • In the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, the  Practicum might include activities such as conducting literature reviews, writing proposals, or collecting and analyzing data. 
      • The Environmental Health Science and Policy Practicum allows students to analyze implications of policies relating to environmental and occupational health, participate in policy development, and assess and manage environmental and occupational risks, etc.
      • The Practicum for the Global Environmental Health students might be based in a resource-poor setting around the world supporting the design, implementation, and evaluation of programs to create healthier communities. 
  • Epidemiology
    • ​In the Department of Epidemiology, the Practicum experience might include activities such as working or consulting on research projects involving data entry, cleaning or analysis; designing studies in collaboration with investigators; conducting epidemiologic surveillance activities with local, state or federal departments of health; collaborating with federal agencies such as CDC, FDA, NOH, as well as multilateral, private sector or non-profit organizations. Work product examples include literature reviews, database or survey development, written reports, presentations, etc. 
  • Exercise and Nutrition Sciences
    • Physical Activity in Public Health
    • Public Health Nutrition
  • Global Health
    • Practicum experiences within the Department of Global Health, for Global Health Epidemiology and Disease Control; Global Health Policy; Global Health Program Design, Monitoring and Evaluation; and Humanitarian Health students range from working in the field in a resource-poor setting around the globe, to supporting the implementation of global health programming while being based in a high-income country. Depending on the track, a Global Health student is following, examples of their Practicum activities could include designing a monitoring and evaluation plan, developing country policy briefs, conducting primary research, writing a manuscript for publication, etc. 
  • Health Policy
  • MPH@GW 
    • ​The MPH@GW program's APEx opportunities are infinite and are unique to each student depending on their interest, location, career experience, and prospects. MPH@GW students engage at the local, state, and/or federal government levels on health issues working with nonprofits, for-profit corporations, non-governmental organizations and government organizations. Students are all over the world, and so is their practicum work! Students may engage in work ranging from programmatic, to policy, to statistical, to strategic planning, to epidemiological, and more. Some examples of APEx work products are communications plans, white papers, presentations, programming data, and developing analysis for public health options. 
  • Prevention and Community Health
    • The Department of Prevention and Community Health (PCH) consists of four tracks: Community Oriented Primary Care; Health Promotion; Maternal and Child Health; Public Health Communication and Marketing. PCH defines academic public health practice as partnerships between members of the department and other community stakeholders that strengthen interactive governance systems, foster the development of health-promoting environments and organizations, enhance community stakeholder capacity to perform essential public health functions, and enable the department to achieve its research education missions all with the goal of improving the population's health.
      • Examples of PCH practicum activities could include but are not limited to:
        • the application of meta-governance tools and strategies to analyze, develop, and administer policy, programmatic, and advocacy approaches; 
        • the assessment of the general public and at-risk populations' individual, community, organizational and societal needs; and
        • the design, implementation, or evaluation of health interventions and initiatives that promote individual and population-level behavior change.

Expediated Portfolio Review (EPR)

MPH students with substantial public health experience relevant to their department/track may request an Expedited Portfolio Review (EPR) from their Practicum Director.

To be eligible, student’s must have worked full-time (as designated by an employer) in a professional public health setting that is relevant to the student’s MPH track/program that demonstrates the application of at least five MPH competencies across two work products that were produced prior to matriculation into the MPH program and are no more than 5 years old.

  • Students with an undergraduate degree: five (5) years or more since obtaining Undergraduate Degree
  • Students with graduate degrees (Masters, MD, PhD, DrPH, etc.): three (3) years or more since obtaining Graduate Degree

MPH students who believe they meet the work experience requirement need to discuss this possibility with their Practice Team within their first year of the program.

Practice Team Contact Information by Department

Environmental and Occupational Health
Georgia Middleditch - gmiddleditch@gwu.edu
Peter LaPuma - plapuma@email.gwu.edu

Epidemiology & Biostatistics
Ann Goldman - annieg@gwu.edu
Joseph Schmitthenner - jschmitthenner@gwu.edu

Exercise and Nutrition Sciences
Michelle Stevens - mmsteven@gwu.edu 

Global Health
Chloe Nickel - cnickel2@gwu.edu
Nino Paichadze - npaichadze1@email.gwu.edu;

Health Policy and Management
Students with Last Names A - L | Melissa Goldstein - mgoldste@gwu.edu
Students with Last Names M - Z | Lara Cartwright-Smith - laracs@gwu.edu
Leticia Chavarria - lchavarria40@gwu.edu

Stephanie Shorten - sshorten@gwu.edu
Laura Vasisko - lvasisko@gwu.edu
Kelley Vargo - kmvfit@gwu.edu
Christiana Ebiasah - cebiasah@gwu.edu
Malika Hook Muhammad - mahmuhammad@gwu.edu 
Ann Rich - richa@gwu.edu
MPH@GW Advising - mphadvising@gwu.edu

Prevention and Community Health
PCH Practice Team - pchacadtraining@gwu.edu

For IRB related inquiries, please contact:
SPH Student IRB Liaison -  SPHstudentIRB@gwu.edu

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

For all other inquiries:
Dr. Gene Migliaccio, geno@gwu.edu - Associate Dean for Applied Public Health
Dr. Jennifer Skillicorn, skilli_j@gwu.edu - Director for the Office of Applied Public Health
Geri Kemper Seeley, gkemperseeley@gwu.edu - Program Manager, Applied Public Health