Community-Engaged Student Practice Placement


The Community-Engaged Student Practice Placement program builds sustained, bi-directional collaborations with community organizations via student practice placements. Through this initiative, community partners and students learn from one another. The program also works to increase the capacity of community partners in conducting needs assessments and evaluations. It also supports them in preparing for accreditation and translating evidence to programs and policies.


  1. Build sustained, bi-directional collaborations between community organizations and Harvard University via student practice placements. These partnerships focus on improving child health, promoting cancer screening and prevention, and addressing emerging public health priorities through policy change.
  2. Support the development of practical skills and community engagement expertise among public health and medical students.
  3. Increase the capacity of community partners to conduct needs assessments and evaluations, prepare for accreditation, and adopt evidence-based programs and policies to promote health and eliminate disparities.


Partner Organization Benefits

  • Help identifying and structuring long-term projects suitable for student involvement
  • Support recruitment – submission of opportunity to Harvard Chan jobs, practicum board, and Scholars in Medicine newsletter
  • Facilitate matching between organization and students
  • Introductory webinar and one-on-one coaching for partner organization staff

Student Benefits

  • Alignment of long-term projects to Harvard Chan coursework
  • Support submission of applications to the Rose Service-Learning Fellowship for financial support
  • Training prior to practicum and throughout placement. Topics may include community engagement strategies, coalition building, mixed methods evaluation, and IRB
  • Opportunity for co-presentations with partners at quarterly CAB meetings

ThinkResearch Podcast: Student Practice Placement Initiative

Harvard Catalyst’s ThinkResearch Podcast produced an episode focused on this program. The discussion centered around our goals of translating classroom skills into practice and supporting local community-based work. Listen to podcast episode.

Harvard Medical School: Voices from the Community

In this video, our faculty lead Karen Emmons interviews fourth-year Harvard Medical School student Morgan Sedhev about her work with The Community Builders (TCB), which addresses medical and social needs in Boston housing. They are joined by TCB leaders Elizabeth González Suárez, vice president of community life, and Anne Vinick, director of community life for New England. The video highlights the important work being done to support our neighbors. Watch “Voices from the Community.”


All Harvard University students are eligible to apply for our student practice placements. Email your cover letter and resume or CV to Rebekka Lee, director of the Harvard Catalyst Community Engagement program at We will update the website as placements become available.

Past Student Projects


  • Alex Gugliuzza, MPH candidate, Health and Social Behavior
    • Placements: Boston Public Health Commission & Boston Children’s Hospital
  • Meisui Liu, MD candidate
    • Placement: Boston Public Schools – Universal Pre-K Family Engagement Internship
  • Julia Healey, MPH candidate, Social and Behavioral Sciences
    • Placement: Massachusetts Department of Public Health


  • Ruhi Nath, HSPH, MPH, Health Management
    • Placement: American Heart Association
    • Project: Leading with Health Equity
  • Katie Busalacchi, HSPH, MPH, Social and Behavioral Science
    • Placement: Boston Children’s Hospital’s Office of Community Health
    • Project: Strategy Review Practicum
  • Morgan Sehdev, HMS, MD
    • Placement: The Community Builders
    • Project: Senior Health and Housing Practice Placement
  • Michelle Lee, MPH, MD
    • Placement: Cambridge Public Health Department
    • Project: Implementing a Framework for Early Childhood Mental Wellness in Cambridge


  • Hae In Kim, HSPH, MPH, Social and Behavioral Science
    • Placement: Boston Children’s Hospital’s Office of Community Health
    • Project: Community Health Needs Assessment
  • Sitara Mahtani, HSPH, MPH, Health and Social Behavior
    • Placement: Cambridge Health Alliance
    • Project: An Initiative to Expand and Evaluate an Oral Health Promotion Program for Cambridge Children
  • Jane Carpenter, HSPH, MPH, Health & Social Behavior
    • Placement: Cambridge Public Health Department
    • Project: Developing a framework for early childhood mental wellness in Cambridge
  • Erica L. Reaves, DrPH candidate
    • Placement: Framingham Health Department
    • Project: Healthy Aging