Maternal and Child Health concentration

The Maternal and Child Health (MCH) concentration capitalizes on the strengths of the College and brings together:

  • Multidisciplinary professional who are experts on different aspects of the health of mothers, children, adolescents and families
  • Experts in the development of health promotion and prevention programs
  • A wealth of connections and networks already developed by members of the college locally, nationally and globally
  • Opportunities to develop model practices locally and globally
  • Opportunities to apply knowledge and skills in different cultural environments

While it is expected that graduates of the MCH concentration will be competent in practicing in health services and other agencies (program planning and management, advocacy, policy making), a new cadre of researchers in MCH fields will also be an outcome of the program. 

Framework of the MCH concentration

The conceptual framework for this concentration is the life course approach to the study of MCH from preconception, through pregnancy, infancy, childhood and adolescence to senescence.  This approach addresses health status at each stage of the lifespan, but also explores the cyclical influences and impacts of health status on subsequent life stages. The biological, behavioral, sociocultural and physical environments are studied along with the influence of policies and politics on the health status of mothers, children, adolescents, women and their families. There is a focus on equity, social justice, and human rights. Please, see diagram 1.

The final outcome of the learning experience is expected to be professionals who will have an impact locally, regionally, nationally, and globally. 

Mission of the MCH concentration

The MCH concentration will strive to:

  • Form leaders in the field who are able to act in different contexts, systems and cultures; who will advocate for the health of the vulnerable populations and who will promote societal commitment to protect and promote health through relevant policies.
  • Form a cadre of practitioners and researchers who will join the next generation of MCH experts at the College of Public Health, UNMC, local, national, and global institutions.

The MCH concentration will offer to participants:

  • Acquisition of knowledge, skills, attitudes and values in the core subjects of public health
  • Expertise in subjects related to mothers, women, children and adolescent health and their determinants
  • Training in a life course approach, taking into consideration health problems and health determinants through different life stages, also considering the intergenerational effects of health status.
  • Appreciation of the interactions of factors, from the simplest molecular structures to complex social organizations, considering individuals in the contexts of their families and communities, while also considering societal and global influences 
  • Promotion of the values of social justice, social inclusion and equity, and health as a human right
  • Master of Public Health in Maternal and Child Health

Master of Public Health in Maternal and Child Health

A total of 45 credit hours are required for completion of the Master of Public Health degree with a concentration in Maternal and Child Health.  The MCH courses are shown below.

Course Number Course Name Credit Hours Semester Offered  Faculty

CPH 546

HPRO 880
Introduction to Maternal and Child Health 3 Fall Rosa Gofin, MD, MPH
Aleta Evans Gaertner, MPH
Katie Brandert, MPH

CPH 547

HPRO 881
Advanced Maternal and Child Health 3 Spring Rosa Gofin, MD, MPH
Aleta Evans Gaertner, MPH
Katie Brandert, MPH

CPH 548

HPRO 882
Child and Adolescent Growth and Development 2 Spring Melissa Tibbits, PhD
CPH 549
HPRO 883 
Women’s Health   2 Spring Renaisa Anthony, MD, MPH 
CPH 627
EPI 840
Epidemiological Measurements and Research in MCH  2 Spring Debora Barnes-Josiah, PhD
Drissa Toure, MD, MPH

Professional Certificate in Maternal and Child Health

A total of 18 credit hours are required for completion of the Professional Certificate in Maternal and Child Health.  The MCH courses are shown below.

Course Number Course Name Credit Hours Semester Offered  Faculty

CPH 546

HPRO 880
Introduction to Maternal and Child Health 3 Fall Rosa Gofin, MD, MPH
Aleta Evans Gaertner, MPH
Katie Brandert, MPH

CPH 547

HPRO 881
Advanced Maternal and Child Health 3 Spring Rosa Gofin, MD, MPH
Aleta Evans Gaertner, MPH
Katie Brandert, MPH

CPH 548

HPRO 882
Child and Adolescent Growth and Development 2 Spring Melissa Tibbits, PhD
CPH 549
HPRO 883 
Women’s Health   2 Spring Renaisa Anthony, MD, MPH 
CPH 627
EPI 840
Epidemiological Measurements and Research in MCH  2 Spring Debora Barnes-Josiah, PhD
Drissa Toure, MD, MPH

For more information about our exciting program of study, please contact Dr. Rosa Gofin at 402-559-9395 or rosa.gofin@unmc.edu.

Maternal and Child Health Concentration Competencies

Upon graduation, a student with a MPH with a concentration in Maternal and Child Health should be able to...

Concentration Domains
1.  Scientific Basis
A. Identify the major behavioral, morbidity, and mortality issues within the maternal and child populations at the local, state, national, and global levels.
B. Assess the socio-economic, cultural, biological, environmental, and societal determinants of health and disease in maternal and child populations.
C. Identify appropriate methods to study health status and its determinants, and design interventions.
D. Identify the key elements in the life course perspective and how they are applied.
2.  Methodological and Analytical Skills
A. Use data to analyze health status and its determinants through the life span, and to identify effective interventions.
B. Critically analyze the qualitative and quantitative methods applied in MCH research.
C. Identify existing gaps in knowledge in MCH assessments and interventions, and propose alternatives to close the gaps.
3.  Management and Communication Skills
A. Apply knowledge of management and organizational theories in the development of proposals for program interventions and research.
B. Present an effective oral and written presentation to diverse audiences.
4.  Policy and Advocacy Skills
A. Describe the historical development of MCH public policies and practices in the U.S. for federal, state, and local agencies and programs serving maternal and child populations.
B. Analyze the current organizations and their gaps in MCH services and programs.
5.  Values and Ethics in MCH Public Health Practice
A. Analyze the principles of equity, social justice, and human rights in the assessment of the health of maternal and child populations and programs for those populations.
B. Identify the ethical principles in MCH practice and research.

Revised February 2012

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Course Descriptions, Competencies, and Topics

CPH 546/HPRO 880:  Introduction to Maternal and Child Health

Course Description
Students will be introduced to Maternal and Child Health (MCH) through the life course approach, which not only examines the health of mothers, women, infants, children and adolescents, but also the effects that the preconception and conception phases have through the lifespan, from birth through senescence to death. Students will also learn about diversity, inequalities in health, inequities in health care, and the global perspective in MCH. In addition, they will be exposed to the history, development, organization, and policy issues in the delivery of MCH services in the U.S, and the rationale and values behind them.

Course Prerequisite(s)
CPH 504/EPI 820 Epidemiology in Public Health; CPH 501/HPRO 860 Health Behavior.

Course Format
This three-credit course will consist of weekly Sessions, in seminar style. Students will be expected to complete readings before class, and be prepared to discuss the texts and specific issues related to MCH and MCH care in the weekly Sessions and in panel format discussions.

Competencies
By the end of this course, students will be able to:

1. Discuss and explain the rationale for the study of health and health care of mothers, women, infants, children, adolescents and their families.
2. Discuss and explain the life course approach in MCH: determinants, long term impact across the lifespan.
3. Select, explain and use MCH indicators from a regional, national and international perspective.
4. Explain and discuss key issues in MCH:  pre-term birth and low birth weight, breast feeding and nutrition, environment and child health, unintentional and intentional injuries, oral health, immunizations, family planning, school health, pre-conception to adolescent health.
5. Identify evidence based interventions for health promotion, screening and risk-reduction from pre-conception and pregnancy (for the pregnant woman and fetus) through adolescence.
6. Identify and explain the federal, state and local MCH services and policies, historically and currently.
7. Differentiate between diversity and inequalities in MCH and inequities in MCH.
8. To explain and discuss the global perspective in MCH.
9. Identify the human rights and ethical issues in MCH.

Topics

  • Introduction: gender, reproduction, women, children, adolescents and their families; MCH and its determinants and the life course approach
  • MCH indicators: mortality, morbidity, new morbidity, well-being, behaviors
  • Pre-conception, pregnancy and newborn screening and other preventive interventions, ethical considerations
  • Pre-term births and low birth weight: causes, consequences and long term health impact; recommendations for adequate care for pre-conception, pregnancy and infancy to adolescence
  • Immunizations, food security, and other programs
  • Oral health and care in pregnancy, infancy, childhood and adolescence
  • Children’s health and the environment
  • Unintentional and intentional injuries
  • Nutrition guidelines for women, pregnant women, adolescents, and children; breastfeeding: mother and infant health and long term impact
  • Family planning and assisted reproductive technologies: practice, human rights, and legislation
  • School health services, healthy schools, health-promoting schools
  • MCH services origins, development, and changing perspectives in the U.S.
  • Development of MCH programs in the U.S.: rational and historical perspective; organization and financing of MCH services and programs; federal and local agencies; NGOs; the reform of the health care system

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CPH 547/HPRO 881:  Advanced Maternal and Child Health

Course Description
This course is designed to prepare graduate students, professional students, fellows, and members of the public health workforce for in-depth analysis of priority areas in Maternal and Child Health (MCH), including their scope, determinants, and impact.  Students will learn the principles and methods on how to systematically examine MCH issues by integrating knowledge and exercising critical thinking and problem-solving skills, while comprehending common lines and concepts across different MCH themes.

Course Prerequisite(s)
CPH 546/HPRO 880 Introduction to MCH; CPH 504/EPI 820 Epidemiology in Public Health; CPH 501/HPRO 860 Health Behavior.

Course Format
This three-credit course will consist of weekly sessions. Students will select an MCH issue to analyze during the course and will be expected to work independently, with Instructors’ guidance, throughout the process and accomplish tasks in a timely manner. Students will be prepared to discuss and critically analyze articles on specific issues related to the selected MCH topic. Additionally, students will be peer reviewers of their classmates’ progress reports, and will also perform field work.

Course Competencies

1. Clearly define public health issues affecting maternal and child populations.
2. Gather relevant information to address MCH issues, from existing data sources, agencies and community members.
3. Analyze and discuss the scope, determinants, and impact of specific health issues in MCH.
4. Identify gaps, strengths, and weaknesses in the provision of programs/care for the MCH population.
5. Critically analyze inequalities in health status of the MCH population and inequities in the provision of care.
6. Identify and assess effective interventions to address MCH issues.
7. Propose evidence-based interventions to address MCH issues, expected barriers in performance and how to overcome them; develop process and outcome measures.
8. Integrate knowledge; apply critical thinking and analytical skills addressing MCH issues.
9. Identify the main issues to be addressed in advocacy for MCH.
10. Make written and oral presentations on an MCH issue to peers, faculty, and community agencies/members.

Topics:

  • For this class, each student will choose one MCH issue to research in-depth. This includes the topic itself and a specific target population. Regarding this issue, students will analyze and/or determine the following components:
  • Scope of the issue taking into account the local, national and global contexts.
  • Determinants related to the issue
  • Key informant interview data from community members/organizations
  • Impact of the issue on MCH populations (includes literature searches and a literature review component)
  • Effective interventions to address the issue (includes a comparative analysis of potential interventions, and proposal of one, best intervention given the target population)

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CPH 548/HPRO 882: Child and Adolescent Growth and Development

Course Description
This course is designed to introduce students to the study and assessment of child and adolescent growth and development. Physical, neurological, psychological, and social development will be discussed. Special emphasis will be placed on the role of public health professionals in promoting the optimal development of children and adolescents.

The course is intended for graduate students and health professionals who will select, implement, and/or design services for children and their families, as well as those who will conduct research with child and adolescent populations.  

Course Prerequisite(s)
CPH 546/HPRO 880 Introduction to MCH

Course Format
The course format will consist of a seminar-style class that meets for 2 hours each week.  Students are expected to complete the readings before class and come to each class prepared to discuss the texts.

Course Competencies
Upon completion of the course, students will be able to:

1. Describe biological, social, and environmental risk and protective factors affecting child and adolescent growth and development.
2. Demonstrate knowledge of key growth and developmental processes and milestones from birth to adolescence.
3. Identify non-normative processes (e.g., delays in physical growth; developmental delays) in child and adolescent growth and development.
4. Select appropriate measures of growth and development from birth to adolescence.
5. Analyze the impact of diversity and disparities in the growth and development of children and adolescents.
6. Select and analyze evidence-based interventions that promote healthy growth and development.
7. Assess the role of public health professionals in promoting optimal child and adolescent growth and development.  
8. Interpret research on current topics relevant to the health of children and adolescents.
9. Explain the role of health and educational organizations regarding children and adolescents with special needs.

Topics

  • Theories of Child Development
  • Risk and Protective Factors
  • Prenatal Development
  • Brain Development
  • Infant Development
  • Temperament and Personality
  • Toddler Development
  • Preschooler Development
  • Interventions That Promote Healthy Development the Infant/Toddler/Preschool Years
  • Development in Childhood – Part 1
  • Children with Special Healthcare Needs
  • Introduction to Adolescent Development
  • Biological Processes in Adolescence
  • Social Development in Adolescence
  • Sexual Behavior and Identity
  • Risk Behaviors in Adolescence
  • Interventions That Promote Healthy Development in Childhood and Adolescence

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CPH 549/HPRO 883: Women’s Health: A Life Course Perspective

Course Description
The Women’s Health: A Life Course Perspective course is an interactive master’s level, public health course that will enable students to critically evaluate and apply theory and skills to address and advocate for women’s health across the lifespan. This course examines topics in women’s health in the United States and globally. The course will introduce and elaborate on women’s health topics focusing on determinants of health using the life course perspective from conception to birth, childhood through adolescence, the reproductive years, and the peri- and post-menopausal periods. Biological, clinical, epidemiological, environmental, societal, cultural, behavioral, socioeconomic, psychological and pathological aspects of women’s health will be presented. The course will apply functions of public health including: prevention, behavior modification, health promotion and risk reduction. The principles of program planning, design and evaluation will be applied to identifying effective solutions to improve women’s health across the life span. The course is divided into two sections; 8-weeks of didactics followed by 8-weeks of application and practice.

The course is an overview course of broad women’s health topics and therefore some topics may not be covered. To satisfy student curiosity, the assignments are intended to encourage students to examine topics that may not be covered directly in the course.

Students are expected to write at a graduate level and be aware of conventional methods of writing in the biomedical or social sciences. The course is recommended for graduate students in public health, health professionals and health professions students who seek an understanding of women’s health issues. There are no prerequisites for this course.

Course Prerequisite(s)
None.

Course Format
The course format will include 1 lecture, video or field trip per week.  Students are expected to complete the readings before class and come to each class prepared to discuss the readings.  Course objectives will be addressed through lectures, class discussions, case studies, written reflections, group projects, and oral presentations.  Students will have opportunities to apply theory into practice throughout the course.

Course Competencies
At the completion of this course, students will be able to demonstrate the following skills:

1. Discuss the basic biologic and physiologic occurrences of the human female body across the lifespan.
2. Differentiate medical and public health practices specific for women.
3. Analyze the scope and magnitude social determinants of women’s health across the lifespan.
4. Explain the biological, epidemiological, environmental, societal, cultural, behavioral, socioeconomic, psychological and pathological factors affecting women’s health across the lifespan.
5. Discuss health disparities in women’s health.
6. Discuss the leading global women’s health issues.
7. Explain the role of advocacy and policy at a local, state, national and global level.
8. Analyze specific health risks for women and “state of the science” evidence based health screening, prevention, and health promotion interventions specific for women across the lifespan considering the life course perspective.
9. Observe the intersection of theory and practice as it relates to women’s health.

Topics (including, but not limited to)

  • Introduction to Women’s Health
  • Life Course Model
  • Conception, Female Embryology
  • Puberty/Adolescence
  • Female Reproduction I and II
  • Perimenopause
  • Menopause
  • End of Life Considerations for Women
  • Women’s Health Disparities
  • Women’s Global Health
  • Family Planning
  • Intimate Partner Violence
  • Sex Trafficking

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CPH 627/EPI 840:  Epidemiological Measurements and Research in MCH

Course Description
This course is intended for graduate students and health professionals desiring to enhance their ability to perform MCH research.  It is one of the five required courses for the MCH concentration.  The course will emphasize common measurements and design issues, and the implementation of conceptual frameworks in MCH population-based research and practice.  Major topics will be covered in this course: 1) applications of the life course approach to MCH research; 2) conceptualization and use of MCH measurements and indicators; 3) studying disparities in health and health care practice; 4) existing data sources for MCH research.

Course Prerequisite(s)
Epidemiology: Theory and Application (CPH 504) or equivalent, Biostatistics I (CPH 506) or equivalent, Introduction to MCH (CPH 546, HPRO 880) or equivalent.

Course Format
The class will meet for one two-hour session weekly.  A variety of teaching methods will be utilized including lectures, discussions, reading and homework assignments, mid-term and final exams, a term paper, and student presentations.

Course Competencies
Upon completion of this course, students will have knowledge and understanding of:

1. Key theoretical frameworks relevant to MCH research and programs
2. Normal and deviant patterns of human reproduction, growth and development

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to demonstrate the following skills:

1. Critically assess research tools to measure MCH concepts
2. Identify and use appropriate data sources and tools for MCH research
3. Design valid research for health issues at different stages of the life span

Topics

  • Social determinants of health and life course frameworks
  • Disparities analysis
  • Indicators of health and wellbeing
  • Disparities: Unnatural Causes
  • Common scales and measurements of health
  • MCH data sources
  • Fertility and infertility
  • Fetal development and birth defects
  • Pregnancy outcomes
  • Maternal mortality
  • Epigenetics
  • Nutritional anthropometry
  • Quality of care
  • Needs assessments

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