In the Spring of 2014, the Worcester Division of Public Health entered into a formal Memorandum of Understanding with Clark University to establish Center for Public Health Practice (CPHP). Similar MOUs are under review with Worcester State University and The University of Massachusetts Medical School. The CPHP is comprised of these, and other area academic institutions, that assist the WDPH/CMRPHA, and key community stakeholders, with the development and implementation of various public health programs and interventions while developing a potential pipeline of public health professionals.

The model is a simple one: Students work closely with faculty to create a study or project from initial design, to data gathering, to reporting. Deliverables are co-designed by faculty and WDPH/CMRPHA mentors to advance the work of the Division. To allow for knowledge to be used and built upon, and to minimize research fatigue, this unique model is designed to respond to public health questions efficiently, collaboratively, and in a sustained manner. The CPHP aims to increase the public’s awareness on health and wellness, and increase participation in the work of all of WDPH’s service areas.

Student engagement and experiences are tailored to address identified WDPH health improvement, environmental health, grant and programmatic needs, thereby ensuring that essential elements and domains of the Division’s Strategic Plan are addressed and implemented. Division staff and key community stakeholders, in concert with area academic faculty, serve as the foundation for the CPHP and foster an academic environment for lecture, research, practice, and sharing.

Benefits of the Center for Public Health Practice:

Student Education/Workforce Development
Engaging with timely, relevant topics to increase knowledge and skills. This two-way communication contributes to both workforce development and faculty connection with practitioners.

Practice-focused research
Relevant research opportunities are identified as stakeholders discuss needs, emphasizing the iterative cycle where research translates to practice and practice informs research.

Shared funding opportunities
Existing resources may be leveraged or new ones identified through collaboration.

Community Engagement/Improve the public’s health
The ultimate goal is to ensure that prevention interventions are supported by science and effective in practice in order to improve the public’s health

For more information, or to learn how to get involved, please contact Laura Overton, Program Coordinator, at