The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health developed the Training in Urban Medicine and Public Health (TRIUMPH) program in response to chronic shortages of physicians in urban areas of Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin Hospital Association and the Wisconsin Medical Society have identified current and future shortages of physicians. An analysis (pdf) concluded there is currently a shortage of primary physicians in rural and urban areas of Wisconsin.

Many Wisconsin counties are designated as Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs). Due to the density of urban populations, nearly half of all people living in Wisconsin HPSAs are urban medically underserved populations. These shortages are expected to grow into the foreseeable future.

The Training in Urban Medicine and Public Health program was developed by UW School of Medicine and Public Health faculty as a sister program to the Wisconsin Academy for Rural Medicine (WARM) program. TRIUMPH was piloted in 2008-09 with six third-year medical students and has grown steadily since that time to more than 50 students enrolled in a 2½-year experience.

The School of Medicine and Public Health has received funding from the state of Wisconsin since 2008 to support both TRIUMPH and the Wisconsin Academy for Rural Medicine. Both programs embody the Wisconsin Idea for the 21st century: to share and apply advances in knowledge for the common good in collaboration with the state, its many constituents and communities and its partners around the world.

TRIUMPH graduates are now training and practicing in Milwaukee and beyond including cities such as New York, New Orleans, Minneapolis and Los Angeles.

The Training in Urban Medicine and Public Health program is led by an enthusiastic team of UW School of Medicine and Public Health faculty and staff located in Madison and Milwaukee. The program is an important component of our transformation into a school of medicine and public health.

TRIUMPH and the MD curriculum transformation

TRIUMPH is a 2½-year clinical, community and public health, and advocacy and leadership skills training program in Milwaukee. Students will begin TRIUMPH during Phase 1 with the Community and Public Health Enrichment Experience (CAPHENE), a two-week intensive course in August immediately prior to the start of the second year of medical school. Students will return to Milwaukee to join the program full-time in Phase 2. All Phase 2 clinical blocks occur within Advocate Aurora Health Care in Milwaukee. TRIUMPH students complete the majority of their clinical rotations in Milwaukee during Phase 3.

Admitted students partner with community organizations to pursue community health improvement projects throughout their clinical training.

How to apply

UW medical students with an interest in working with urban populations may apply for admission to the TRIUMPH program in late fall of their first year of medical school and will be notified by early spring regarding their acceptance into the program. 

The selection process includes a written application, letters of recommendation and an in-person interview. Applications are submitted through Fluid Review (pdf)

Interested TRIUMPH candidates are expected to enroll in the Integrating Medicine and Public Health (PHS 712) course. This course includes an introduction to core concepts in public health that will help prepare students for TRIUMPH and should be completed by the end of phase one of medical school. Students who have already obtained a master of public health (MPH) degree are exempt from this requirement.

Training in Urban Medicine and Public Health students may also elect to participate in the Path of Distinction (PoD) in Public Health or Research, TRIUMPH/Master of Public Health or TRIUMPH/Medical Scientist Training Program dual-degree programs, or the TRIUMPH/global health track.

Path of Distinction (PoD)

The Path of Distinction was created to provide all UW medical students with options to enhance their medical training with a concentration in public health or research. The Path of Distinction combines extracurricular courses, self-directed learning and mentoring to enrich medical school with content tailored to student interests.

Students who apply to TRIUMPH are encouraged to also apply for the Path of Distinction program.

TRIUMPH/Master of Public Health dual degree

TRIUMPH students have the option to pursue a master of public health (MPH) degree in conjunction with TRIUMPH. Dual degree TRIUMPH/MPH students start TRIUMPH in Milwaukee at the beginning of Phase 2 with their colleagues. They enroll in the School of Medicine and Public Health Master of Public Health Program between year three and four of medical school. Following the year of MPH coursework, they continue in TRIUMPH's phase three curriculum. The MPH Program requires medical students complete seven elective credits, all of which are fulfilled through the TRIUMPH curriculum (out of 42 total MPH degree credits).

Students may combine the TRIUMPH project and the Master of Public Health Program's 240-hour Applied Practice Experience into one project, which will span 3½ years and represent 400 hours of total effort (80 hours in phase two, 240 hours during the MPH year, and 80 hours in phase three).

Master of Public Health Program students complete an Integrated Learning Experience (ILE), which is a culminating experience that includes:

  • A practice-based project (the Applied Practice Experience fulfills this requirement)
  • Integrative culminating seminar
  • Participation in a graduation poster session
  • A high-quality written project

The written product can take several forms depending upon what is most appropriate for the student’s project and can include:

  • A program evaluation report, training manual, policy brief, legislative testimony and supporting research
  • An epidemiological surveillance report
  • A manuscript for a peer reviewed journal
  • Other professional written products

The Integrated Learning Experience is traditionally linked to the Applied Practice Experience. WMAA Perlson Scholarships may be available for TRIUMPH students interested in pursuing a master of public health degree at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health.

TRIUMPH/global health

Training in Urban Medicine and Public Health students have the option to pursue global health work in connection with TRIUMPH. These students may request to take a leave of absence from medical school between the third and fourth year to complete their global health experience. Following the global health experience, they return to TRIUMPH and the Phase 3 curriculum.

Some global health students have integrated their global health and Milwaukee-based TRIUMPH projects. Upon their return, global health students are invited to share lessons learned and to explore the relationship between global and local health.