Maternal & Child Health Concentrator’s Guide 2013-14

Overview of the MCH Concentration

Maternal and Child Health (MCH) is a dynamic field that aims to improve the health of women, children, youth, and entire families and communities, while addressing health inequities and the systems and policies that contribute to family health. MCH applies a life course perspective to its mission.

The Life Course Perspective

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 across generations. Throughout our education and research activities, we give special attention to the impact of gender, race and racism, culture, and economic well-being on people’s health. We integrate principles of family-centeredness, 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 real solutions.

The MCH Curriculum

The MCH curriculum combines knowledge of the scientific foundation of MCH practice with  the skills needed to shape and influence public health practice and policy: community needs assessment; program development and management; research and evaluation; and policy and advocacy. As a student you will learn to adapt acquired knowledge and skills to the context of peoples’ lives, assuring that your practice is evidence-based as well as family–centered and culturally competent. MCH courses cover women’s health across the life span; sexual and reproductive health and justice; the perinatal period and birth outcomes; inter-conception care; child health, including mental health and special needs; youth and adolescent development and health. Faculty research addresses key questions for policy makers and advocates alike: How does women’s preconception health affect birth outcomes? What can public health professionals do in response to the rapidly rising cesarean birth rate in the US? How can persistent racial disparities in infant health in Boston and the nation be turned around?  How can the mental health of mothers in new immigrant communities be improved?  These and many other projects by MCH faculty and their practice partners, provide rich opportunities for students to gain hands–on research and practice experience through our annual MCH fellowships and field practica.

Upon graduation, MCH concentrators are equipped with the knowledge, critical thinking, 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 U.S. and across the globe.

MCH Communications

There are several ways to stay in touch with faculty and other students and to be informed about events and opportunities in the MCH concentration.

  • MCH Listserv:

    You should receive a message in the first week of the semester with upcoming events.  If you do not, please contact Joanne Patterson () to be added to the MCH listserv.

  • The MCH website
  • MCH Blackboard Site:

    The MCH Forum features academic and social events, job and internship postings, and all sorts of resources for MC concentrators.  It should appear on your Blackboard homepage; if it does not, please contact Judy Margo ( to be added to the site.

  • MCH on Facebook: The MCH Program at BUSPH maintains a Facebook page to help alums, current students, and prospective students connect and communicate.  We use it to announce upcoming events, job listings, and MCH-related news.  If you have a question or information to share (job listings, events, etc.), this is a great way to reach your MCH colleagues.  Photos of MCH events welcome!

  • MCH on LinkedIn: The BUSPH MCH group on LinkedIn is useful for professional networking with alums and current students of the program.  Relationships built through graduate training are invaluable, and LinkedIn provides an excellent forum for utilizing these contacts and sharing information.  To join this group, go to the webpage listed above and request membership (managed by the MCH Program Manager).

Please contact Joanne Patterson or Dallas Pride, your Curriculum Coordinators, with any questions.