MPH: Maternal & Child Health Concentration

Maternal & Child Health (MCH) is a dynamic and interdisciplinary field that aims to promote the health of women, children, youth, and entire families and communities, while addressing health inequities and the systems and policies that contribute to them. The primary focus is on the United States; however, the faculty, curriculum, and scholarly activities include countries across the development spectrum. Faculty members conduct research, education, and service in partnership with community-based organizations; advocates; and local, national, and international government agencies.

The life course perspective is central to MCH. The life course perspective combines an understanding of human development and the social determinants of health as they accumulate and interact across the life span and generations. Throughout our education and research activities, we give special attention to the impact of race and racism, gender and gender identity, culture, and economic well-being on people’s health. We integrate principles of community engagement, cultural competence, and anti-racism in the effort to eliminate health inequities, and we recognize that the strengths of individuals and communities must be harnessed to create comprehensive solutions.

The MCH curriculum combines knowledge of the scientific foundation of MCH practice with the technical and professional skills needed to shape and influence public health practice and policy:

  • community assessment and planning
  • program design, management, and evaluation
  • epidemiologic and community-based research
  • policy and advocacy
  • community partnership and team leadership

Students learn to base their practice on the best public health evidence available and to tailor their practice to the cultural, social, and economic realities within communities. MCH courses cover women’s health across the life span; sexual and reproductive health and justice; the perinatal period and birth outcomes; child health with an emphasis on mental health and special health care needs; and youth and adolescent development.

Upon graduation, MCH concentrators are equipped with the knowledge, critical thinking, and technical and leadership skills essential for assessing community needs and assets, designing and evaluating programs and policies, and advocating for health equity. Graduates are employed as managers, researchers, and advocates within private and public sector organizations in the US and across the globe.

Concentration Requirements

MCH concentrators work directly with their advisors to plan a course of study that addresses both the students’ interests and MCH concentration requirements. In addition to meeting the MPH degree requirements, MCH concentrators must earn a minimum of 16 concentration credits. Of these 16 credits, 8 credits are earned by successfully completing two required courses:

  • MC 725 Women, Children, and Adolescents: Public Health Approaches
  • SB 820 Assessment and Planning for Health Promotion or SB 821 Intervention Strategies for Health Promotion (students are required to choose one and advised to take both)

In addition to completing MC 725 and SB 820 or SB 821, all MCH concentrators must earn at least 8 additional credits in SPH courses numbered 700 or above in MC or in other concentration courses approved for MCH concentration credit.

  • EP 759 Reproductive Epidemiology
  • GH 735 Gender, Sexuality, Power, and Inequity in International Health
  • GH 766 Sexual and Reproductive Health in Disaster Settings
  • GH 881 Evidence-Based Strategies for International Reproductive Health
  • GH 887 Planning and Managing MCH Programs in Developing Countries
  • SB 750 Intimate Partner Violence
  • SB 751 Sexual Violence: Public Health Perspectives in Intervention and Prevention
  • SB 808 Merging Clinical and Population Based Perspective in Public Health: Tension and Resolution
  • SB 822 Quantitative Methods of Program Evaluation

MCH concentrators are advised to tailor their SPH electives to meet competencies in a selected skill area critical to MCH practice, including program management and quality improvement, policy and advocacy, or research.

MCH Culminating Experience

All Maternal & Child Health concentrators must complete a paper that integrates relevant theory and evidence with an analysis of a substantive field experience, usually their practicum. Students must meet with their advisors to plan the experience, submit a signed Culminating Experience Approval Form, and complete the drafts and final product according to the established deadlines. Students register for MC 940 for the Culminating Experience. Those students who do not finish the Culminating Experience register for MC 941 in the next semester.