What is MCH?

The Maternal and Child Health Bureau

The Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) is a part of the Human Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the United States (US) Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

Its history begins with the establishment of the Children's Bureau in 1912. In 1935, the US Congress enacted Title V of the Social Security Act, which authorized the Maternal and Child Health Services programs. Below are links to more information about MCHB:

The mission of the bureau is to improve the well-being of the maternal and child populations in the US. It envisions a future where "...the right to grow to one's full potential is universally assured through attention to the comprehensive physical, psychological and social needs of the maternal and child health population. We strive for a society where children are wanted and born with optimal health, receive quality care and are nurtured lovingly and sensitively as they mature into healthy, productive adults. MCHB seeks a nation where there is equal access for all to quality health care in a supportive, culturally competent, family and community setting."

MCH Professionals

Maternal and child health (MCH) professionals carry the primary responsibility for maintaining a national, state, and local focus on the health of maternal and child populations. In order to meet this responsibility, they require a broad array of skills and abilities that transcend clinical specialty or academic disciplines.

Over the past decade, professional competencies have been identified as the recommended basis for graduate and continuing education for MCH professionals (ATMCH, 2000). The competencies address five areas that are essential to MCH policies and practice:

  • Scientific basis of MCH and public health
  • Methodological and analytic skills
  • Management and communication skills
  • Policy and advocacy skills
  • Values and ethics

To learn more about these competences and complete a self-assessment of your educational goals or skills, complete the Self-Assessment of Skills for MCH Professionals.

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MCHB's Training Programs

One of the key ways that MCHB builds an enduring national infrastructure of MCH professionals is through training programs. These educational programs train leaders in many different disciplines, such as social work, nursing, and developmental and behavioral pediatrics; and in interdisciplinary settings, including schools of public health. Some training programs are clinical, such as adolescent health care; others are academic, such as schools of public health.

Our program is one of only thirteen MCH training programs in schools of public health nation-wide. Information about these programs is available at http://www.mchb.hrsa.gov/training/projects.asp?program=17.

All students, despite their different disciplines, receive specialized training in:

  • addressing the special health and social needs of women, infants, children, and adolescents
  • evaluating public health services and communications to ensure they are attuned to families and culturally sensitive
  • fostering interdisciplinary research and public health teams
  • using epidemiological research to inform public health interventions, practice, and policy

Additional information about MCHB's Training Program is available at http://www.mchb.hrsa.gov/training/ and The MCH Training Program: An Evaluation.

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