DC Metro Urban Health Program (UHP)

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.

If you are interested in joining the UHP 2023-2024 cohort, you can find the application information under the "Apply" tab.

For more information, please fill out our interest form, or reach out to us at [email protected].

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…

...in 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.

...in 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 champion, practitioner, clinician, educator, policy-maker, and/or administrator who is committed to enhancing health in the community and mentoring emerging health professionals, we'd love to work with you!

Whether you are looking for extra volunteers or are interested in establishing a longer-term partnership, please let us know through our Community Partner Interest Form.


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

Applications for the 2023-2024 academic year are currently open until Friday, September 1, 2023. If you would like to apply, you can find our application here

GW UHP/LAYC River Corp Program

For those unable to commit to the entirety of the UHP program (September through April), we are excited to partner with the LAYC River Corps team for an alternative for those still looking to participate in community engagement and program facilitation.

The River Corps Program engages District residents, ages 18–24, through classroom education and field-based experiences to gain technical skills needed to install, inspect, and maintain Green Infrastructure, and learn critical skills to secure employment.

Students will work with the LAYC River Corps of DC and Montgomery Country to facilitate a supplemental air-quality control/pollution and environmental sustainability curriculum.  Students have the opportunity to gain critical facilitation skills while engaging directly with their local community. 

Time Commitment: Friday 9am-3pm; Fall Semester: 4-5 weeks starting in September; Spring Semester: 4-5 weeks starting in January

Responsibilities: GWSPH students will facilitate trainings and guide air-quality monitoring activities each week along with the LAYC.

We recruit students on an ongoing basis for current and future cohorts.  Interested individuals should email us your resume and brief statement of interest to [email protected].