The CO-STARR Model: Characteristics of a Quality PHAP Training Experience

The 2024 host site application cycle will open in early 2024.

If you have questions about the application process, please contact the PHAP helpdesk at

Are you considering applying to host an associate, but you’re unsure whether the program is right for you and your organization? PHAP’s “CO-STARR” model details the key characteristics of a quality PHAP host site training experience. Prospective host sites are encouraged to consider these characteristics while developing an activity plan and host site application.

CO-STARR Characteristic vs. Expanded Definition


Expanded Definition

The letter C
Competency-based work activities The work plan and program structure should build the associate’s skills and include work activities that provide opportunities for the associate to meet the PHAP competencies.
The letter O
Opportunities to build skills The associate’s work activities should provide a variety of opportunities for building public health skills over the two-year training program.
The letter C
Supervisor involvement Host site supervisors should be prepared to supervise an early-career public health professional. They should recognize potential generational differences and provide appropriate guidance. Host site supervisors are expected to devote at least 10 percent of the work week (i.e., approximately 4 hours per week) to providing direct supervision and guidance. They should be actively involved in the associate’s work.
The letter T
Training, education, and development are ongoing The host site activity plan should provide the associate with opportunities for ongoing training and development throughout the two-year assignment. Training can include instructor-led events, web-based online learning, self-paced study, independent study, one-on-one training, shadowing, etc. Training should support associates’ work activities and their attainment of the PHAP competencies.
The letter A
Aligns with host site goals The associate’s work activities should support the host site’s program goals, strategies, and outcomes.
The letter R
Realistic for an early-career public health professional Work activities should be practical and attainable for an early-career public health professional with little or no public health work experience.
The letter R
Robust public health learning experience Work activities should provide a rich, hands-on public health learning experience.

Characteristics of a Quality PHAP Training Experience