The Critical Value of Maternal and Child Health (MCH) to Graduate Training in Public Health: A Framework to Guide Education, Research and Practice

Julianna Deardorff, Michelle Menser Tissue, Patricia Elliott, Arden Handler, Cheryl Vamos, Zobeida Bonilla, Renee Turchi, Cecilia Sem Obeng, Jihong Liu, Holly Grason

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review


Introduction: In light of persistent health inequities, this commentary describes the critical role of maternal and child health (MCH) graduate training in schools and programs of public health (SPPH) and illustrates linkages between key components of MCH pedagogy and practice to 2021 CEPH competencies. Methods: In 2018, a small working group of faculty from the HRSA/MCHB-funded Centers of Excellence (COEs) was convened to define the unique contributions of MCH to SPPH and to develop a framework using an iterative and consensus-driven process. The working group met 5 times and feedback was integrated from the broader faculty across the 13 COEs. The framework was further revised based on input from the MCHB/HRSA-funded MCH Public Health Catalyst Programs and was presented to senior MCHB leaders in October 2019. Results: We developed a framework that underscores the critical value of MCH to graduate training in public health and the alignment of core MCH training components with CEPH competencies, which are required of all SPPH for accreditation. This framework illustrates MCH contributions in education, research and evaluation, and practice, and underscores their collective foundation in the life course approach. Conclusions: This new framework aims to enhance training for the next generation of public health leaders. It is intended to guide new, emerging, and expanding SPPH that may currently offer little or no MCH content. The framework invites further iteration, adaptation and customization to the range of diverse and emerging public health programs across the nation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalMaternal and child health journal
Issue numberSuppl 1
StatePublished - Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to acknowledge the COE faculty and MCHB partners who were members of the small working group (2018–2019) that developed the framework: Julianna Deardorff, Holly Grason, Colleen Huebner, Lewis Margolis, Donna Strobino, and Michelle Tissue. We would also like to thank Colleen Huebner, Lewis Margolis, Cheri Pies, and Donna Strobino for their important feedback on this paper. The framework described in this article was developed by the Centers of Excellence in MCH Education, Science and Practice and the MCH Public Health Catalyst Programs, which are programs funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration under grant activity codes T76 and T1C. The views expressed in this publication are solely the opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or the Health Resources and Services Administration, nor does mention of the department or agency names imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).


  • CEPH
  • Education
  • Life course
  • Maternal and child health
  • Practice
  • Research
  • Training
  • Leadership
  • Education, Public Health Professional
  • Humans
  • Maternal-Child Health Centers
  • Child Health
  • Child
  • Public Health/education

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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