The Center for Patient Partnerships is a national leader in patient advocacy education.

An interdisciplinary center of the Schools of Law, Medicine and Public Health, Nursing, and Pharmacy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the center trains professional and graduate students from a diversity of disciplines in the art and science of patient advocacy and patient-centered care. Through clinical advocacy training, students advocate for patients (or family members) with life-threatening and serious chronic illnesses as they navigate the health care system and address related legal, financial and psychosocial issues.

In addition to advocacy education, the center engages in grant-driven projects and systemic advocacy. Field placement students are expected to participate in ongoing projects or design a self-directed project relevant to patient engagement/empowerment, health advocacy, health care navigation or consumer-driven health systems performance improvement.

Past projects have included:

  • Researching the impact of patient-driven internet research on the relationship between patients and providers
  • Legislative advocacy regarding private health insurance coverage and mental health parity
  • Community outreach to vulnerable populations
  • Studying state-wide variability regarding screening for melanoma
  • Examining oncologist communication regarding clinical trial opportunities

Project opportunities

  • Applied training in micro and macro advocacy methods, patient-centered care and interprofessional (teamwork) problem-solving through our clinical program. View information about the Applied Advocacy Experience course
  • Identification and completion of a project in an area of public health practice including core public health functions (e.g. needs assessment, program planning, program evaluation, policy development, educational campaign, or an applied research project). The project would also need to be relevant to patient engagement/empowerment, health advocacy, health care navigation, or consumer-driven health systems performance improvement. Students can either create their own project or join an existing project that's already in progress. View detailed information on the center's research
  • A field experience at the Center for Patient Partnerships would qualify toward completion of the Consumer Health Advocacy CertificateView more information on the field experience

Graduate Certificate in Consumer Health Advocacy

MPH students can also pursue a Graduate Certificate in Consumer Health Advocacy with a few additional courses.

About the certificate

The Consumer Health Advocacy Certificate focuses on advocating for improvements in health care on both the individual patient level and system level, informed by real-life patient experiences.

Requirements (12 credits total)

  • One 3-credit elective course (options include Pop Health 780, 650, 471, 703. View more
  • 3 credits from your MPH field placement will count toward the certificate.
  • 3 credits, Law/Med Science/Nursing 768 - Applied Advocacy Experience, offered spring, summer and fall. Students who picked Center for Patient Partnerships as their MPH field placement site do not need to take 768; all 6 credits from your field placement count toward the certificate instead.
    • This experiential learning course requires a commitment of 12 hours a week. Students will work directly with patients and help them with navigating the complex health systems (insurance, public benefits, employment issues and treatment issues) while learning about these systems in depth. Students will work on a project relates to system level change for patients. Students will learn first hands about social determinants of health at local primary care clinics connecting patients with community resources they might need (food, housing, transportation, job training, financial assistance, etc).
  • 3 credits, Law 940 - From Patient to Policy, Models of System-Level Change, offered every spring semester. This graduate seminar highlights the opportunities and limitations of patient voices in improving health care delivery; introduces theories of change and roles and strategies in system-level advocacy; explores the role of advocacy groups; and critically examines advocacy in the legislative, regulatory, community and organizational arenas.

If you have any additional questions, please reach out to Christopher Yue at, or call 608 263 7736.