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



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.


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.


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.


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.

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