The practicum experience required for the MPH degree provided me with my first hands-on public health experience in a role that reached a community outside of the university setting. While the courses provided the knowledge and theory necessary to understand public health, the practicum experience allowed me to apply what I had learned in the classroom in a real world environment. My interests in addressing heath disparities, minority health and LGBT health led me to seek out a practicum placement with AIDS Concern as a part of the MSM Team. AIDS Concern is the first non-government charity organization established in Hong Kong committed to the service of AIDS care. I joined the MSM Team at a crucial time since the organization was in the process of developing emerging programs, particularly regarding the role of PrEP in the local MSM community. I independently designed and executed HIV prevention workshops to provide the community with information about PrEP and PrEP advocacy. I applied what I learned from courses, such as biostatistics and epidemiology, when I conducted research analyzing collected data to provide insight on drug use in the community. I prepared recommendations for government consultation reports as well as current program performance review and improvement reports. I was given full responsibility of the projects I proposed and felt that I had contributed to the organization and local community in an impactful way at the conclusion of the experience. As an international student, the practicum was not only an immersive way to gain a better understanding of local concerns but an opportunity to examine my perspectives on global health. The exposure was only a glimpse into what public health entails, but it was an invaluable experience of the skills I'll need to have a successful future as a practitioner.
Priscilla LIU (MPH Full-Time 2016-2017, ID)