One Semester Practicum


Apply by submitting requested materials (varies by project) to Melissa Bailar ( by March 28. If applying to more than one project (recommended, as this will increase your likelihood of being able to enroll), include a ranking of your preferences. Students may apply to both MDHM 430 and the MDHM402-403 sequence, but will be placed in only one course per semester.

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.

For additional information, please contact Dr. Melissa Bailar.

How to enroll in the practicum

Students will meet as a group periodically throughout the semester during the scheduled class time 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 March 28 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 time blocks or other 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 MDHM 430.

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

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

MDHM 430 Practicum Options, Fall 2024

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.

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 (front line 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.

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 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 research, write, and publish at least one 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 are histories of organizations providing healthcare to vulnerable populations. Students work closely with Dr. Bailar and the Handbook of Texas’ Managing Editor. Students may also meet with the head of the Texas Medical Center Library’s archives to learn archival research skills and explore relevant collections. 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 second one indicating a rough idea of what aspect of Texas medicine you would be interested in researching (in the past, students have expressed interest in “biographies of Black nurses,” “reproductive legislation,” “heart transplants,” etc.).

Houston Methodist Living Donation Digital Storytelling Project

The Living Donation Story telling Project, an online digital library, includes over 200 culturally diverse stories from people sharing their living kidney donation and living donor transplant experiences. Students may conduct ethical reviews to ensure collected stories follow guidelines to project patients' confidentiality, edit collected stories for online storytelling libraries and YouTube uploads, create promotional blogs and videos, assist in the management of our digital storytelling websites and social media accounts, develop strategies to grow and improve recruitment of storytellers, help build patient educational opportunities, assist with publishing the lessons learned about digital story telling for health education and promotion.

To apply, please submit a resume and 1-2 paragraphs of interest in this project highlighting experience or interest in digital marketing, running social media campaigns, website management, video editing and/or applying health promotion strategies to raise awareness. Students will need to pass badging requirements for Houston Methodist Hospital.

Institute for Spirituality and Health

Students will contribute to the development of a curriculum for medical and other health professions students, under the guidance of staff in the Institute for Spirituality and Health. The curriculum aims to guide students and interested practitioners to learn how different spiritual practices affect health and the clinical experience, learn strategies for talking with patients about their beliefs and values, and reflect on their own sense of meaning in the work they do and their lives as healthcare workers, and more. Students survey, compile, and summarize existing resources that are currently used in medical education settings to understand what gaps exist in medical education and how to fill them. Students will present their work mid-way and at the end of the semester to the Institute leadership and forums of patients and practitioners.

Please email Dr. Bailar ( a short paragraph indicating your interest in spiritual aspects of health, illness, medicine, and/or caregiving.

Menninger Clinic and Psychiatric Care

Students will spend at least one morning or afternoon per week interacting with clinicians, patients, residents, and research faculty at the Menninger Clinic (, an in-patient psychiatric clinic with a unique biopsychosocial model of care. The Clinic has a robust research agenda and a rich data collection, which can contribute to student projects. Students will shadow a resident and be able to observe the patient intake process, treatments, group therapy sessions, or other aspects of psychiatric care. They will also meet weekly with Dr. Marsal Sanches, the Director of Research Education, to develop an independent research project specific to student interests. Students will also spend some time working on a collection of Dr. Menninger’s writings.

To apply, please submit a resume (no page limit) and a 1-2-paragraph statement of interest in clinical mental health care, how this opportunity connects with your career goals, and any specific areas of mental health in which you are especially interested. Please also submit a list of all medical humanities and/or psychology courses you have taken and a statement that you will be able to travel to the Menninger Clinic and spend at least 5 hours there per week spread over one to two days. Selected students will need to pass badging requirements for the Menninger Clinic.