Department of Public Health Practicum Pilot: Students and mentors reflect on their experiences working on mental health and substance use issues in the West Virginia (WV) Bureau for Behavioral Health 

Davidson students Kaitlyn Lazorchak and Laila Robinson, along with Rebecca Roth, Director of Policy, Planning, and Research (WV Department of Health and Human Resources, Bureau for Behavioral Health), and Kata Chillag, Chair of the Davidson College Department of Public Health, will talk about their experiences with the summer 2022 practicum pilot in the WV Bureau for Behavioral Health.

The panel will discuss, and answer audience questions, about the context where this practicum took place, including the social, economic, and health context in WV, the federal, state, and nongovernmental public health institutions they engaged with during the practicum, projects they worked on, and what they learned.

The panel will also discuss how we might foster partnerships between state and local health departments and Davidson College to advance the intertwined goals of undergraduate public health education   and public health workforce stewardship in underserved areas.

Lazorchak received support during the practicum from the Davidson College Public Health Experiential Learning Grant. Established by Mary Kathryn Rains Poole '09 and Blake Poole '08, this fund aids students participating in unpaid or low-paying experiential learning opportunities related to public health policy programs or research.

Students interested in public health, particularly those who might be interested in participating in this or other public health experiential learning opportunities should attend! Lessons learned from the pilot are being used to inform the continuation of the program in WV and to facilitate expanding practicum opportunities to other state and local health departments in underserved areas.