A group of people in downtown Albuquerque
By Michael Haederle

Academic Health Department

UNM College of Population Health Partners with N.M. Department of Health in New Initiative

University of New Mexico College of Population Health students seeking to complete their practicum or capstone projects now have access to a wider range of options to conduct fieldwork, thanks to the newly created Academic Health Department.

A partnership with the New Mexico Department of Health, the new department is funded by a two-year $1.5 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dean Tracie Collins, MD, MPH, MHDS, is the principal investigator.

The department enables students to gain real-world knowledge by spending time working with a range of public health professionals across New Mexico, with a particular focus on health equity, Collins said.

The 90 or so undergraduates in the college are required to complete a capstone project to graduate, she said. Graduate students must complete a practicum before graduating.


Tracie Collins
We’re providing the chance for students to have more applied public health opportunities around the state. We really want to take a closer look at health equity.
Tracie Collins, MD, MPH, MHDS

“We’re providing the chance for students to have more applied public health opportunities around the state,” Collins said. “We really want to take a closer look at health equity.”

A new administrator will support practicum and capstone program needs, creating content for outreach materials, supporting students to create abstracts, presentations and manuscripts from their fieldwork and managing applications for student fieldwork experiences and sites.

The new department’s three-part mission focuses on practice-based learning, practice-informed teaching and practice-based research, Collins said. It provides stipends for students to serve as assistants in teaching and research.

The grant provides for a biostatistician to help evaluate initiatives within the new Academic Health Department and provide advanced statistical expertise, guidance and support to AHD partners and collaborators, she said.

The funding also supports Doreen Bird, a community engagement and participatory research trainer. She will work with Nina Wallerstein, DrPH, MPH, a professor in the College and director of the Center for Participatory Research, to train local health councils in community-based participatory research, Collins said.

Categories: College of Population Health, Community Engagement, Health, News You Can Use, Top Stories