Dean Patricia Wahl presented the second annual Service Award for Community Partners to Karen Hartfield at the School's annual MPH Practicum Reception on May 8, 2008. Hartfield, an HIV prevention planner and lecturer in health communication in the School of Public Health, coordinates the Health Department's practicum placement efforts and accepted the award on behalf of the agency.
The School's Service Award for Community Partners came about when students wished to recognize the wonderful support provided by two mentors in Eastern Washington and the work they do for the University and in their communities. The Student Public Health Association and the School's leadership concurred and established a permanent award to honor community partners for exemplary support of the School's mission and goals. The award's purpose is to recognize collaborators outside the School who have shown dedication to working cooperatively with students, faculty, staff, or administrators to provide service to the School and increase its impact in the community.
The 2008 Community Service Award honors the School of Public Health's longstanding and very productive partnership with Public Health-Seattle & King County. The department has given countless students practicum opportunities at its many sites throughout King County. And for the past five years, Public Health-Seattle & King County has supported the School's educational and service missions by providing individual year-long practicum experiences for each of the 16 first-year Master of Public Health students in the Community-Oriented Public Health Practice program.
Practicum experiences span the range of programs offered by the health department. Students work with populations from diverse parts of the community, from King County jail to mothers and infants in White Center. Dean Wahl said, "Public Health-Seattle & King County Director Dr. David Fleming's enthusiastic support of collaboration with academic public health is representative of the strong encouragement from all participating programs in the health department for active student involvement in community health improvement efforts."