Field Placements/Internships

Each student enrolled in the MPH or MS program is required to complete an internship for credit towards his or her degree. Many students intern at the New York State Department of Health because of the close relationship between the School and the Health Department. However students have found great opportunities with the Centers for Disease Control, the National Institutes of Health, community health departments, and international agencies as well. Below are brief descriptions of internships students have had in recent years.


Cancer Screening Research and Evaluation Unit
Bureau of Chronic Disease Epidemiology and Surveillance
New York State Department of Health

On average over 4,700 New York State residents die from cancers of the colon and rectum. In light of this a screening pilot project was conducted in the late 1990's to determine factors influencing men and women's choice to use a fecal occult blood test, a simple test performed at home to detect colorectal cancer. A student was hired to analyze data from this pilot through use of SAS, introductory epidemiological methods, and biostatistics.

Office of Science and Epidemiology
HIV/AIDS Bureau
Health Resources and Services Administration

The Office of Science and Epidemiology conducts program-related research and program evaluations in order to improve the delivery and implementation of HIV/AIDS Bureau programs. The student intern conducted epidemiologic and other scientific studies analyzing the effects of health care utilization among those infected and assessed the development and dissemination of innovative models of HIV care.

Public Health Geocoding: A Preliminary Tool in Analyzing Health Outcomes in Populations Near State Superfund Sites
Bureau of Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology
New York State Department of Health

Endicott, NY is situated near a facility that used tricholorethylene (TCE) extensively during the late 70’s and 80’s. By using TCE, a volatile organic compound, the company polluted the groundwater aquifer. By remaining in the soil for many years, TCE penetrated overlying buildings and homes through vapor intrusion. To evaluate the plume’s effect on area residents, the New York State Department of Health, with assistance from federal and local agencies, has begun evaluating birth outcome rates in Endicott, NY.

The student intern was employed to first calculate standardized rates of statewide birth outcomes, such as low birth weight, birth defects, and preterm births, from birth certificate data. The student then calculated the rates of birth outcomes in Endicott during the study period using geographic information systems. Finally the student compared the expected and actual rates to see what effect, if any, the TCE plume has had on birth outcomes.