Have questions about whether the Training in Urban Medicine and Public Health (TRIUMPH) program is a good fit for you? Check out answers to these common questions.

Before you apply

Once you're in


What is TRIUMPH?

TRIUMPH is a program for UW School of Medicine and Public Health medical students that provides unique and challenging educational experiences for students committed to providing health care for underserved, urban populations. TRIUMPH integrates clinical, community and public health, leadership and advocacy skill development in urban Milwaukee. It includes two-week immersion courses in both the second and fourth years as well as a 2½-year longitudinal experience beginning in the spring semester of the second year of medical school. Students engage in a longitudinal community health improvement project with a Milwaukee-based community organization or clinic.

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How do I apply to TRIUMPH?

Students apply to TRIUMPH during the late fall of their first year of medical school. Students will be asked to provide a current resume/CV, a letter of recommendation and up to three essays explaining their commitment to serving the underserved. Decisions regarding applications are made by February of the first year to allow students time to plan for moving to Milwaukee.

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When can I apply to TRIUMPH?

Students can apply during late fall of their first year of medical school.

Students who plan to apply are expected to take PHS 712, Integrating Medicine and Public Health, before entering the program. This course teaches students the fundamentals of public health and how they intersect with medicine. Students should take this course in the fall of their first or second year of medical school. Students who have previously completed an MPH are exempt from the PHS 712 requirement.

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Do I need a minimum GPA to participate in TRIUMPH?

TRIUMPH requires additional course work above and beyond the standard medical school curriculum. There is no minimum GPA requirement for TRIUMPH, however, students applying to the program must maintain good academic standing.

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I’m interested in other programs within the School of Medicine and Public Health. How does TRIUMPH relate to these programs?

TRIUMPH fits within the broader programming of the School of Medicine and Public Health. Students in TRIUMPH have the same opportunity as their non-TRIUMPH peers to participate in other degree programs, including the master of public health (MPH) degree, global health fellowship or Medical Scientist Training Program between their third and fourth year of medical school. TRIUMPH works with staff in Madison to ensure that credits and requirements of each program are aligned.

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I’m planning to pursue or have already obtained a master of public health (MPH). Should I still join TRIUMPH?

Absolutely. Approximately 20 percent of TRIUMPH students graduate with a master of public health degree. TRIUMPH can complement an already-obtained MPH degree by allowing you to apply the skills learned in your MPH classroom to a large urban environment. Students who choose to pursue the MPH at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health are encouraged to continue their TRIUMPH community project as a part of their master of public health applied practice experience. This enhances the longitudinal nature of the community work and can lead to improved outcomes and capacity at a community organization. Participation in the TRIUMPH curriculum may be counted toward fulfillment of some master of public health requirements.

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What requirements will I need to complete for TRIUMPH?

During the course of the program, students must remain in good academic standing and complete the eight TRIUMPH course credits, at least 160 hours of a community health project and final project presentations. Final presentations consist of an abstract (second year), scholarly poster (third year) and oral presentation (fourth year).

Fall of first year

As preparation, students should take PHS 712, Integrating Medicine and Public Health, prior to beginning the TRIUMPH program. Students will be introduced to core public health concepts that prepare them to take on the additional community work involved in TRIUMPH. Students are encouraged to attend an informational session about TRIUMPH during their first year to hear from current students about the program and assess whether the program fits with their career goals. 

Second, third and fourth years 

Students take four, two-credit courses as part of their TRIUMPH experience. The Community and Public Health Enrichment Experience (CAPHENE) is a two-week intensive course held in early August, prior to the second year. The CAPHENE course is followed by a longitudinal course starting in Phase 2 (January of the second year) that takes place every other Tuesday for the remainder of Phase 2 and a longitudinal course that runs the duration of Phase 3. Fourth-year students also participate in a two-week intensive leadership skills course in October of Phase 3 (during the fourth year).

The longitudinal project component of the course begins with Phase 2 in January of the second year and continues until the student graduates from medical school for a total 30-month project commitment.

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What is an appropriate focus for the TRIUMPH community health improvement project?

TRIUMPH projects accommodate a wide variety of interest areas. Students have completed projects in public health planning, project implementation and evaluation. Students have had a broad range of project focus areas. TRIUMPH places high value on projects that are led by and meet the needs of our community partners, so project focuses have varied in response to the needs of our partnering organizations.

Students in TRIUMPH have also adapted their projects to fulfill requirements of the master of public health program.

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When should I complete the project?

Students and community partners meet at a project fair in January of their second year, upon beginning the longitudinal curriculum, to discuss potential projects and partnerships. Subsequently, TRIUMPH students spend at least 160 hours completing a community health improvement project in Milwaukee. Eighty hours are completed in Phase 2 and another 80 hours are completed in Phase 3.

The longitudinal nature of TRIUMPH projects allows students to work closely with community organizations to plan and implement multiple phases of the project. Community organizations willing to serve as mentors may also elect to partner with a dual degree MD-MPH student and create a 3½-year project that meets the requirements of both TRIUMPH and the MPH programs. Students choosing this option complete 400 hours of work on their community project (80 hours in Phase 2, 240 hours in the master of public health year and 80 hours in Phase 3).

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