New Orleans community health assessment supported by Tulane PRC practicum intern

While interning with the New Orleans Health Department this summer, one Tulane student discovered that best practices in disease prevention and health improvement are often a community affair.

Jack Healy, a graduate student studying epidemiology at Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, supported the second New Orleans Community Health Assessment during his practicum internship this summer. Being an integral part of the department's work to identify and address the city's most pressing health needs showed Healy the importance of collaborating with the community.

"The biggest lesson I learned was that in public health it is important to understand not only your population and constituencies, but also the other players who work in your field," Healy said. "Complex social and scientific problems require cross-sector collaboration. To make the biggest impact, organizations need to come together to share resources, work together, and capitalize on each organization’s individual strengths."

During his time with the Health Department, Healy had the opportunity to engage with many members of the community including individuals associated with New Orleans City Hall, Louisiana Department of Health, regional hospitals and clinics, and local non-profits. Healy worked closely with his supervisor Jodi Dyer, Community Health Improvement Coordinator at the New Orleans Health Department, to perform data collection and analysis to support the department's Community Health Assessment.

Both Dyer and Healy said they recommend other organizations and students participate in similar practicum placements. Healy's internship was facilitated by the Tulane Prevention Research Center's Health Promotional Practicum Program, held twice a year to match Tulane graduate and undergraduate students to select host organizations for 300-hour practicum internships.

"It has been a mutually beneficial relationship, allowing the Health Department to offer unique experiences and learning opportunities to our future workforce, while at the same time increasing our capacity to provide essential services and supporting our core programming," said Dyer, who added that "having any competent and hard-working practicum student at such a critical time would have been useful, but having Jack was invaluable."

The Tulane PRC is currently advertising six practicum internships to the Tulane student body. Applications are due Monday, Oct. 29. For more information on the six practica or to apply, visit

By Kaitlin Gibson, Tulane PRC Graduate Research Assistant
October 2018

(Photo courtesy of New Orleans Health Department: Meetings were held as part of the Community Health Assessment to discuss health priorities with residents and various stakeholders working in health-related fields.)

Topics:   practicum , training , community health , policy

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