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 inner-city 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. The program 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 program providing most clinical training in Milwaukee with all four phase two clinical blocks within Aurora Health Care. Students will begin TRIUMPH with the Community and Public Health Enrichment Experience (CAPHENE) during August between their first and second years. They will join the program in Milwaukee full-time in January of their second year.

Admitted students will be matched 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 year.

An application, letters of recommendation and an interview are part of the selection process. Applications are submitted through Fluid Review (pdf). Students will apply late in the fall semester and will be notified by early spring of their first year regarding their acceptance into the program.

Interested TRIUMPH candidates are expected to enroll in the "Leadership in 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 an MPH 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. TRIUMPH/MPH students start TRIUMPH in Milwaukee at the beginning of phase two 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 master of public health coursework, they continue in TRIUMPH's phase three curriculum. TRIUMPH coursework provides eight hours of elective credits toward the MPH degree (out of 42 total 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 a capstone project, which serves as a culmination of didactic and experiential learning, oral defense, and presentation at a public health symposium. The capstone is traditionally linked to the field experience. WMAA Perlson Scholarships may be available for TRIUMPH students interested in pursuing a master of 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 three 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.