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.”

Summer 2023 Placements

All Harvard University students are eligible to apply for our student practice placements. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis through spring 2022 until positions are filled. Email your cover letter and resume or CV to Rebekka Lee, director of the Harvard Catalyst Community Engagement program at See available placements below.

The Community Builders: Senior Health and Housing Practice Placement

Description: The Community Builders is seeking a student to support in summer 2023. This project focuses on developing a set of trauma-informed design guidelines. These guidelines would be created using existing literature on best practices and interviews with both TCB staff and external content experts. The final product will be an easy-to-read guide around design considerations and the process for ensuring community voice around the design of housing. The student will have the opportunity to collect qualitative data to further understand community needs, develop resources, and attend community events and The Community Builders’ internal meetings.


  • Interest and experience with social determinants of health, trauma-informed approaches, and housing
  • Bilingual & bicultural preferred. Spanish, Haitian Creole, Arabic, Cape Verdean Creole, or Somali
  • Familiarity with Boston neighborhoods preferred
  • Community engagement experience
  • Program Planning and implementation skills

Time commitment: 10-20 hours per week, June – August 2022.
Stipend/Salary: A stipend is available

Current Student Projects

2023 Placements

Elise Hoffman, MPH, Social and Behavioral Sciences
Moulika Hitchens, MPH candidate

Placement: Boston Public Health Commission

Devin Dattolico, MPH candidate, Social and Behavioral Sciences
Placement: Massachusetts Massachusetts Association of Community Health Workers (MACHW)

Nora Abo-Sido MD, MPH candidate, Health Policy and Management
Placement: Boston Public Health Commission

Past Student Projects

2022 Student Placements

Megan Carney, MPH candidate, Social and Behavioral Sciences
Sanjana Srinivasan, MD candidate
Placement: Massachusetts Department of Public Health

Kaitlin Schroeder, MPH candidate, Social and Behavioral Sciences
Placement: Boston Public Health Commission

Zara Michael, MPH candidate
Ellen Zhang, MD candidate

Placement: Massachusetts Association for Community Health Workers

Laboni Hoque, HMS, MD candidate
Placement: The Community Builders

Naana Nkrumah-Ababio, HSPH, MPH, MD
Placement: Boston Public Health Commission

Karen Kwaning, HSPH, MPH, UCLA, MD candidate
Placement: Boston Children’s Hospital

Carolyn King, HSPH, MPH 
Placement: Boston Children’s Hospital

2021 Student Placements

Alex Gugliuzza, HSPH, MPH
Placement: Boston Public Health Commission  Project: Facilitating Organization Readiness in Meeting Public Health Reaccreditation Standards

Placement: Boston Children’s Hospital
Project: Boston Childcare Support Initiative: Building Provider Capacity and Promoting Early Childhood Health Equity

Meisui Liu, HMS, MD candidate
Placement: Boston Public School
Project: Boston Universal Pre-K Program: Family Engagement Policy

Julia Healey, HSPH, MPH
Placement: Massachusetts Department of Public Health
Project: Health Equity Strategic Planning

2020 Student Placements

Ruhi Nath, HSPH, MPH
Placement: American Heart Association
Project: Leading with Health Equity

Katie Busalacchi, HSPH, MPH
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, HSPH, MPH, HMS, MD
Placement: Cambridge Public Health Department
Project: Implementing a Framework for Early Childhood Mental Wellness in Cambridge

2019 Student Placements

Hae In Kim, HSPH, MPH
Placement: Boston Children’s Hospital’s Office of Community Health
Project: Community Health Needs Assessment

Sitara Mahtani, HSPH, MPH
Placement: Cambridge Health Alliance
Project: An Initiative to Expand and Evaluate an Oral Health Promotion Program for Cambridge Children

Jane Carpenter, HSPH, MPH
Placement: Cambridge Public Health Department
Project: Developing a framework for early childhood mental wellness in Cambridge

Erica L. Reaves, HSPH, DrPH
Placement: Framingham Health Department
Project: Healthy Aging