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Established in 2005, the Public Health Action Support Team (PHAST) deploys graduate students to health departments and community-based organizations throughout the region, country, and world in order to assist with public health projects. These deployments are practical experiential learning opportunities that ground and enhance classroom learning while addressing emerging public health challenges.

This trip provided a valuable learning opportunity... It offered a chance to dive into public health practice and get my hands dirty. It was rewarding and filled in large gaps left in my coursework. There is truly no substitute for first-hand experience. -Previous PHAST student

While these opportunities certainly enhance students' personal and professional development, we are also driven to ensure that the partnerships we build with the communities we enter are equitable. Far too often, power and privilege shape projects aimed at improving community health. We acknowledge this and seek to intentionally develop partnerships that share power and are truly mutually beneficial.

Imbuing projects with the complementary skills and innovative mindsets of community members, practitioners, researchers, students, and educators will strengthen our shared pursuit of a more just and healthful world.


Are you a masters or PhD student in good academic standing at UM SPH? Do you want to gain practical applied public health experience in local, national, and/or global contexts? If so then apply here! To learn more, contact us at and read up on our recent deployments to Grenada and along the US-Mexico border in South Texas.

Partner with PHAST

If your health department or community-based organization is interested in working with PHAST, please contact us at or 734-736-4962. Completing a PHAST Deployment Application beforehand is helpful, but not required. Let's talk!


st croix

 Following Hurricane Irma in 2017, the CDC requested PHAST's assistance with conducting a Community Assessment for Public Health Emergency Response (CASPER) in partnership with local residents in St. Croix and St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands. PHAST conducted household interviews and assisted with data analysis.