One Semester Practicum


In this highly individualized course, students will spend one semester working with a mentor in an organization related to health and conduct their own research project. The organizations with which the mentors are affiliated will vary by semester and are listed below. Students learn about these organizations through assisting a mentor and conduct research into a medical humanities topic that will be presented to the public as a paper, RURS presentation, website, or other project. Students may also propose their own practicum topic, and the requirements are described below.

Students might work alone with the partner organization or in a small group. Some students will spend several hours per week on site with their mentor, and others will work remotely. Note that the time spent with the mentor varies greatly by project. In general, however, the practicum should take approximately 8-10 hours/week including meetings. Attendance in class meetings and individual meetings with the instructor is mandatory, and these will be determined in accordance with student schedules.

Activities will vary according to the student’s work and interests but might involve conducting research and writing for publications, creating content for social media, conducting interviews, organizing and attending events and meetings, preparing strategies for public health awareness, etc.

There will be periodic assignments over the semester to keep students on track to completing a successful research project related to their work with their community mentor. The nature of these assignments will vary according to the project.

MDHM 201 and at least nine credit hours in humanities discipline.

For additional information, please contact Dr. Melissa Bailar.

How to enroll in the practicum

Students will meet as a group periodically throughout the semester on Wednesdays 5-6pm to share their work and discuss research and presentation strategies. Students will also meet individually with Dr. Bailar to go over aspects of their individual projects.

Review the practicum options below and submit the required application materials by April 10 directly to Dr. Bailar at It is strongly recommended that students apply to at least 3 projects, as many accept only 1 or 2 students and others have specific requirements. Some partners require an interview before accepting students.

Once you have been matched with a project, Dr. Bailar will be in touch to submit the registration override so that you may register for MDHM430.

Please direct questions about these practicum options to Dr. Melissa Bailar.

Sample Practicum Options Fall 2023

American College of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

Students in this practicum will spend about 4-5 hours per week shadowing practitioners and students at the American College of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine ( You will observe patients being treated and be paired with a mentor who can explain the treatments and answer questions you have about holistic medicine. Students must formulate their own research question to pursue, under the guidance of Dr. Bailar, and will read relevant literature and possibly interview experts to complete a project. Students will be required to complete some HIPAA online training (approximately 6 hours) before the semester begins. To apply, please submit a paragraph indicating your interest in learning about acupuncture, a broad research topic you would like to pursue, and blocks of time you would be available between 9am and 3pm Monday through Thursday. No prior familiarity with acupuncture is necessary, and you will refine your research topic over the first few weeks of the semester.

Menninger Clinic

The Menninger Clinic provides an ideal practicum experience for students interested in new directions in in-patient mental health care. Students will shadow a resident, learn about assessment strategies and observe an intake assessment, and meet weekly with a Menninger faculty mentor to pursue a research project of priority for the clinic. To apply, please submit a paragraph indicating your interest in learning about mental health clinical care, any prior research experience (in any field), medical humanities and/or psychology courses you have taken, and blocks of time you would be available to be at the clinic between 9am and 4pm Monday through Friday.

UT Health Physicians Spina Bifida Program

One student will be selected to work with Dr. Brandon Miller, a neonatal neurosurgeon, to assist with the development of enhanced communication with families of spina bifida and trauma patients. Students will shadow Dr. Miller, attend a monthly clinic with spina bifida patients, and develop an assessment plan for determining whether families find current communication effective, informative, and compassionate. Students must be able to converse in Spanish, be available to attend the clinic the morning of the last Friday of every month, and have time every Thursday to meet with Dr. Miller. Summer employment may also be available upon completion of the practicum. To apply, please submit an unofficial transcript, a resume, a paragraph indicating your interest in this practicum, and confirmation of your ability to converse with patients in Spanish and availability on Thursdays and Fridays. See for information on Dr. Miller and for information on the clinic.

Día de la Mujer Latina

Día de la Mujer Latina
Students in this practicum will conduct research into healthcare disparities in Houston’s Latina population and work with the organization’s director and other staff members to develop strategies to improve access to healthcare, disseminate information about screenings and vaccinations, dispel misinformation, and inform healthcare professionals about the specific needs and concerns of this population. Much of the work will be focused on Community Healthcare Workers (frontline public health worker who has in-depth understanding of the community being served), and there may be options for students to receive state certification as a CHW. Please note that this option requires set hours on-site determined by the director and a high level of Spanish communication skills. To apply, please submit a paragraph indicating your interest in the practicum, your availability M-F between 9 and 5pm, and your level of Spanish proficiency. The organization’s director and staff will select students after reviewing their credentials and an informal online interview.

Institute for Spirituality and Health

Institute for Spirituality and Health
Selected students will meet weekly with the Vice President of the Institute, Stuart Nelson, to develop their own research projects at the intersection of spirituality or religion and health or illness. Students will join groups or connect with other experts who will aid in the development of their research. Past projects have ranged from co-composing soundscapes with members of a bereavement group, to conducting surveys with family caregivers of cancer patients, to creating a graphic memoir based on personal experience and interviews with patients and doctors about scarring. The practicum has three phases over the course of a semester: first, to conduct a literature review in the topic area; second, to develop a research plan and takeaway project in consultation with experts; and third, to execute and present the research project. Students do not need to know a precise area of research in advance but should have a couple of ideas of general areas that interest them. This is designed as a one-semester practicum.

To apply, please submit a resume and one paragraph indicating your interest in spiritual aspects of health, illness, medicine, and/or caregiving.

Radiation Effects and Events

Selected students will work with Dr. Armin Weinberg (, faculty at Semey Medical University in Kazakhstan, librarians at the Texas Medical Center Library’s archives, and other individuals who have studied the health, social, political, and personal effects of radiation exposure from nuclear bombs (including their extensive testing in Kazakhstan), nuclear accidents, and nuclear waste. Depending on the status with Russia and the Ukraine, students may talk with researchers there as well to learn about different approaches to medical treatment and obstacles to effective care. Students will assist with research into international medical partnerships; conduct interviews for the archive on radiation effects and events; work with authors on editing essays for journal publications; and/or other research-related tasks. Students will have the opportunity to talk and work with a range of experts from the U.S., Kazakhstan, Japan, and elsewhere. Students must have prior research experience in any discipline, strong organizational and time-management skills, and professional communication proficiency. This practicum may be taken for one or two semesters. To apply, please submit a statement of prior research experience in any area, a paragraph indicating your interest in radiation effects and/or public health, and a resume.

The Handbook of Texas Medicine

Students in this practicum will complete a published entry for an online encyclopedia, The Handbook of Texas Medicine. Students may select a topic that has been identified as a priority for the handbook or may suggest a new one. Topics include the histories of hospitals and clinics (including those with non-Western approaches), health organizations, medical journals, remedies, and individual healthcare professionals. Of particular interest now are histories of organizations providing healthcare and support to Texas’s LGBTQ+ population as well as healthcare legislation. They will meet with the head of the Texas Medical Center Library’s archives to learn archival research skills and will conduct research in the archives as needed throughout the semester. In addition, students will meet with the Executive Director of the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), Dr. Heather Wooten, to learn about the Handbook and strategies for writing medical histories, and with the Handbook of Texas’ Managing Editor, Dr. Brett Derbes to learn about the importance and challenges of online reference works. Students will meet as needed with other community members who can contribute insights to their topics. Students must have strong writing and time management skills. This is designed as a one-semester practicum, but students may take it a second semester to complete another entry. To apply, please submit a paragraph indicating your interest in medical history and writing and a rough idea of what aspect of Texas medicine you would be interested in researching (i.e. in the past, students have expressed interest in “biographies of Black nurses,” “reproductive legislation,” “heart transplants,” etc.).