In 2007, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene launched the Epi Scholars program to provide high caliber, graduate level epidemiology students with direct public health experience in an urban setting. The Epi Scholars practicum offered Masters in Public Health students hands-on experience in advanced epidemiological methods, social epidemiology, statistical methods, and applied public health practice. Students were paired with health department scientists as mentors to conduct research on urban health disparities.
Epi Scholars worked to train a future generation of epidemiologists and, with support from the de Beaumont Foundation, was expanded to other big cities. In 2011, the de Beaumont Foundation awarded a grant to the Fund for Public Health in New York to provide the staffing and technical support necessary for the New York City Department of Health to replicate the Epi Scholars program at the Los Angeles County Department of Health. In 2012, the Foundation funded the expansion of the program to Public Health—Seattle & King County.