About Academic Health Department
Academic Partnerships are cooperative agreements with academic institutions to build public health workforce capacity , to improve health outcomes of populations, as well as to better coordinate our partnerships with colleges and universities. At DPH academic partnerships have existed for decades. The goals of the Academic Health Department are to:
Promote public health as a profession
Create meaningful student experiences
Enhance the knowledge and capabilities of existing DPH staff
Optimize public health research and practice
About the Academic Health Department Consortium
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) formed an Academic Health Department Consortium 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 mission statement:
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 Health Department Principles
Group Norms/Principles were established over a period of time by the Academic Public Health Corps Research and Evaluation Work Group. The group pulled in the principles from the Academic Public Health Corps (APHC), Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) and from conversations in both small and large groups with the research and evaluation work group members. The overarching principle states: Shared responsibility, shared opportunity, and shared visibility. These group norms should be periodically reviewed and evaluated as a guiding mechanism to ensure the Academic Health Department and academic partners upholds and updated as needed. The Principles include Participation, Integrity/Professionalism, Racial Equity. Communications, and Collaboration.
Academic Public Health Corps
At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Academic Public Health Corps (APHC) was established by the Massachusetts Academic Health Department Consortium 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.
For more information, please go to Academic Public Health Corps.
Since April 2020, the APHC has placed hundreds of their Corps Members with local boards of health throughout Massachusetts. Academic Public Health Corps Members are deployed to communities across Massachusetts to meet the emergent local public health needs identified by the local boards of health, which have a history of being underfunded and short staffed. The APHC plays an important role in supporting their vital work while also giving students real world experience and professional development opportunities. Past projects have included contact tracing and case investigation, data analysis, health equity support and research, community outreach, health communications and promotion, graphic design and social media management, policy research, vaccine clinic support, strategic planning, and more.
Academic Public Health Corps Academic Partners
The partner organizations in the Academic Public Health Corps include:
- Boston University School of Public Health
- Bridgewater State University
- Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health
- Holyoke Community College, Community Health Worker Apprenticeship Program
- Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
- Massachusetts Health Officers Association
- Massachusetts Public Health Association
- Northeastern University
- Northern Essex Community College, Associates in Public Health & CHW Certification Programs
- Regis College
- Simmons University
- Tufts University
- University of Massachusetts, Amherst
- University of Massachusetts, Lowell
- University of Massachusetts, Worcester
Follow the Academic Public Health Corps on social media:
Academic Public Health Corps Example Projects/Services
The Academic Public Health Corps (APHC) is a program of the Massachusetts Academic Health Department Consortium. It is managed by the Massachusetts Health Officers Association (MHOA) and funded by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. 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.
Institutional Review Board (IRB)
All requests for access to MDPH confidential information for research must have approval from the Commissioner of Public Health in accordance with M.G.L. c. 111, §24A. This protects the confidentiality of all information collected or created as part of an approved research study and imposes restrictions on use and disclosure of research data. All research involving human subjects conducted by MDPH employees, or agents working on its behalf, must be reviewed by the Department Institutional Review Board (IRB).
Office of Oral Health Collaboration
The Office of Oral Health (OOH) collaborates with The Boston University School of Dental Medicine (BUSDM) and Tufts University School of Dental Medicine. This collaboration focuses on driving the OOH goal areas of surveillance, prevention, workforce, access, and integration while bolstering BUSDM’s Global & Population Health program. BUSDM will provide technical support to the OOH in the form of faculty expert feedback, student projects, and statewide oral health capacity building. Topics may include, but not limited to: teledentistry, portable/mobile care, vaccines, in-office/point of care testing, critical workforce, and substance use disorders.
Public Health Data (PHD) Warehouse
PHD is a unique surveillance and research tool that provides access to timely, linked, multi-year data to enable analyses of health priorities and trends, such as the current opioid epidemic and persistent inequities in maternal and child health. More information is available on Public Health Data Warehouse (PHD).
Contact for Academic Health Department Consortium (AHD)
|Date published:||May 13, 2019|
|Last updated:||May 15, 2023|