1. Alkon, Ellen MD, MPH
  2. Kim-Farley, Robert MD, MPH
  3. Gunzenhauser, Jeffrey MD, MPH


Hospitals are the normal setting for physician residency training within the United States. When a hospital cannot provide the specific training needed, a special rotation for that experience is arranged. Linkages between clinical and public health systems are vital to achieving improvements in overall health status in the United States. Nevertheless, most physicians in postgraduate residency programs receive neither training nor practical experience in the practice of public health. For many years, public health rotations have been available within the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (and its antecedent organizations). Arrangements that existed with local medical schools for residents to rotate with Los Angeles County Department of Health hospitals were extended to include a public health rotation. A general model for the rotation ensured that each resident received education and training relevant to the clinician in practice. Some parts of the model for experience have changed over time while others have not. Also, the challenges and opportunities for both trainees and preceptors have evolved and varied over time. A logic model demonstrates the components and changes with the public health rotation. Changes included alterations in recruitment, expectations, evaluation, formal education, and concepts related to the experience. Changes in the rotation model occurred in the context of other major environmental changes such as new electronic technology, changing expectations for residents, and evolving health services and public health systems. Each impacted the public health rotation. The evaluation method developed included content tests, assessment of competencies by residents and preceptors, and satisfaction measures. Results from the evaluation showed increases in competency and a high level of satisfaction after a public health rotation. The article includes examples of challenges and benefits to a local health department in providing a public health rotation for physicians-in-training and how these challenges were overcome.