Academic Health Department Consortium (AHD)

Learn about the Academic Health Department Consortium at MDPH

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About the Academic Health Department Consortium

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) formed an Academic Health Department Consortium (AHD) with eight local schools and programs of public health with the common goal of bridging the gap between practice-based public health and public health academia in April 2019.  Academic health departments are most often established to foster a more practice-oriented education for students of public health, while simultaneously creating collaborative opportunities for faculty and staff through trainings, to develop the current and future public health workforce, build the evidence base for public health including joint-research projects, better deliver the Essential Public Health Services, and interdepartmental work.[i],[ii],[iii],[iv]

Academic Health Department mission statement

MDPH and the eight academic partners agreed on a temporary mission statement that will be revisited after 12 months of development:

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the participating schools and programs of public health will collaborate to strengthen the relationships between practice and academia through workforce development, professional support, field placement, and interorganizational systems communication.

Academic Public Health Corps participating academic partners

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Academic Public Health Corps (APHC) was established by the Massachusetts Academic Health Department as a service program focused on supporting the needs of local boards of health (LBOH) throughout the state of Massachusetts. The APHC is a collaboration between the Massachusetts Public Health Department, the Massachusetts Health Officers Association, and 13 Massachusetts schools and programs of public health.


The APHC is comprised of public health students who work with LBOH on a variety of tasks, including data management, research and data analysis, translation services, and COVID-19 infographics.  The mission of the Academic Public Health Corps (APHC) is to support public health agencies and to advance health equity in Massachusetts by engaging with public health students, alumni, and expert participants through interdisciplinary collaboration.

The partner organizations in the Academic Public Health Corps include:

  1. Boston University School of Public Health
  2. Bridgewater State University
  3. Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health
  4. Holyoke Community College, Community Health Worker Apprenticeship Program
  5. Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
  6. Massachusetts Health Officers Association
  7. Massachusetts Public Health Association
  8. Northeastern University
  9. Northern Essex Community College, Associates in Public Health & CHW Certification Programs
  10. Regis College
  11. Simmons University
  12. Tufts University
  13. University of Massachusetts, Amherst
  14. University of Massachusetts, Lowell
  15. University of Massachusetts, Worcester

Follow the Academic Public Health Corps on social media:

Academic Public Health Corps

The Academic Public Health Corps (APHC) is a program of the Academic Health Department Consortium. Formed at the request of the Baker-Polito Administration and the COVID Command Center, the APHC connects local health departments in Massachusetts with public health students looking for internships. Students are paid for work that builds their resumes and real-life public health experience, and local health departments’ capacity to keep their communities healthy is increased.

For more information, please go to

Academic Public Health Corps services

The Academic Public Health Corps (APHC) is a program of the Academic Health Department Consortium. The mission of the APHC is to support public health agencies and to advance health equity in Massachusetts by engaging with public health students, alumni, and expert corps members through interdisciplinary collaboration.

To succeed in this mission, the APHC is committed to:

  • Mobilizing resources from, and corps members affiliated with, our partner institutions towards improving public health in Massachusetts 
  • Providing student corps members with experiential learning opportunities in governmental public health across public health sectors
  • Engaging with and deploying corps members in partnership across different public health sectors to address public health gaps

APHC corps members currently provide the following services:

Health communication (print, signage, social media, websites)

  • Social media messaging development (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter)
  • Topic- and population-specific messaging and infographics
  • Signage to communicate health regulations
  • Graphic design and web development support
  • Written translations of health communications materials (flyers, infographics)

Data analysis & presentation

  • Data Analysis and visualization to highlight disparities and offer insight into public health problems in communities
  • Geographic Information System (GIS) Mapping
  • Dataset manipulation
  • Visualized data analysis reports
  • Data analysis consultation

Health equity support

  • Highlighting and supporting public health initiatives that promote health equity and service minority or underrepresented communities
  • Collaborating with community and faith-based organizations
  • Creating tailored infographics and informative social media content
  • Community and stakeholder analysis and engagement
  • Supporting health equity projects and research

Research and administrative support

  • Meeting minutes
  • Digital file organization
  • Policy guidance
  • Planning and research

If you would like to request assistance from the APHC to support your local board of health, please fill out this intake form:

A member of the APHC leadership team will contact you within 2-3 days to schedule an introductory virtual meeting, gather information on your request, and organize Corps members to respond to your needs. Please see below for types of projects that the APHC accepts.





250 Washington St.
Boston, MA 02108

i. Conte, C., Chang, C.S., Malcolm, J., Russo, P.G. (2006) Academic Health Departments: From Theory to Practice. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, 12 (1) 6-14, 2006. 00124784-200601000-00003

ii. Erwin PC, Barlow P, Brownson RC, Amos K, Keck CW. Characteristics of Academic Health Departments: Initial Findings From a Cross-Sectional Survey. J Public Health Manag Pract. 2016;22(2):190-3.

iii. Council on Linkages Between Academia and Public Health Practices (2011) Academic Health Departments: Core Concepts. Public Health Foundation.

iv. Erwin, P. C., Harris, J., Wong, R., Plepys, C. M., & Brownson, R. C. (2016). The Academic Health Department: Academic–Practice Partnerships Among Accredited U.S. Schools and Programs of Public Health, 2015. Public Health Reports, 131(4), 630–636.

Date published: May 13, 2019
Last updated: October 21, 2020

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