Mythbusters: Conference Edition

Welcome to the next installment of CEPH’s mythbusters series. 

Staff have traveled to multiple conferences this season and collected more questions and myths to put to the test.

MYTH: The MPH integrative learning experience (ILE) requires a portfolio and must be completed with a community partner.

TRUTH: The MPH ILE (Criterion D7) has different requirements from the applied practice experience (APE), which is Criterion D5. The ILE represents a culminating experience for the degree and can take many forms. Students must demonstrate synthesis of specific foundational and concentration competencies through the experience and produce a high-quality written product. Ideally, the written product is developed and delivered in a manner that is useful to external stakeholders, but this is not a requirement. Similarly, it is ideal to have students engaged with community partners as often as possible, but this not a requirement of the MPH ILE. A portfolio approach is a required component of the APE rather than the ILE. This myth is busted. 

MYTH: An interprofessional team can comprise students from different MPH concentrations.

TRUTH: Foundational competency 21, Perform effectively on interprofessional teams, requires students to work in an interprofessional team. In the context of our criteria, interprofessional refers to engagement with professionals (either students in other professions or practicing professionals) outside of public health. A team of students from various public health disciplines/concentrations is not sufficient and does not capture the spirit of this competency. This myth is busted. 

MYTH: Joint degree students (e.g., JD/MPH, DVM/MPH, MSW/MPH) cannot count as “other” professionals for foundational competency 21, Perform effectively on interprofessional teams.

TRUTH: Joint degree students CAN be members of an interprofessional team IF done correctly. It is not sufficient to simply put joint degree students in a group and have them do regular coursework or projects together like any other MPH student group. To satisfy the expectations of this competency, the assessment activity must allow joint degree students to bring the expertise and professional orientation of their other profession (e.g., law, veterinary medicine, social work, etc.) to contribute to a more holistic approach or solution than public health professionals can achieve alone. This myth is busted.

Have you heard a myth that needs busting? Send it to [email protected]

--Written by: Alisha O'Connell, MPH