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A teacher in front of a classroom of students.The UAB School of Public Health has had a focused expertise in Maternal and Child Health (MCH) for decades. The purpose of the MCH Policy and Leadership concentration is to provide excellent MCH education and preparation for present and future MCH leaders from diverse backgrounds so that the health of children, families, and communities is promoted, preserved, and enhanced. Inter-professional training focuses not only on core public health and MCH skills, with a unique focus on policy, but also on leadership development with a view to achieving optimal MCH outcomes and advancing MCH science, research, practice, and policy.

What is MCH?

  • What is MCH?

    Maternal & Child Health is the collaborative discipline within public health that uses the tools of all public health disciplines to focus on assuring conditions that allow children and families to be healthy and reach full potential. It focuses on the determinants, mechanisms, policies, and systems that promote and maintain the health, safety, well-being and appropriate development of children and families in communities and societies.

    The field is not just for those who have or are interested in children today; MCH is also about assuring the health and well-being of tomorrow's children and adults. After more than 75 years, MCH remains focused on the future.

    "Sometimes when I get home at night in Washington I feel as though I had been in a great traffic jam. The jam is moving toward the Hill where Congress sits in judgment on all the administrative agencies of the government. In that traffic jam there are all kinds of vehicles moving up toward the Capitol.... For example, the Army can put into the street tanks, gun carriages, trucks.... There are the hayricks and the binders and the ploughs and all the other things that the Department of Agriculture manages to put into the streets. The handsome limousines in which the Department of Commerce rides.... The barouches in which the Department of State rides in such dignity. It seems so to me, as I stand on the sidewalk watching it become more congested and more difficult, and then because the responsibility is mine and I must, I take a very firm hold on the handles of the baby carriage and I wheel it into the traffic." — Grace Abbott, Children's Bureau, 1935


If you want an MCH concentration, here are the degrees you can pursue within the Department of Health Policy and Organization (HPO):

An internship is required of all students pursuing an MPH. Some students within the MCH concentration also choose to concurrently pursue a global health certificate through the UAB Sparkman Center for Global Health.

MCH Student Association

All UAB students with particular interest in MCH are encouraged to join the Maternal & Child Health Student Association, or MCHSA. It is a student-led organization sharing MCH knowledge and experience with the school, campus, and community. Email Julie McDougal to learn more.

MCHSA Website

Faculty and Training

The MCH faculty is committed to both excellence in teaching and excellence in research. Through the MCH concentration’s faculty and students, the Department of HPO provides continuing education and technical assistance to our MCH practice partners, including state Title V and Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CYSHCN) agencies and other MCH agencies regionally, nationally, and globally.


For information on applying to the MPH in MCH Policy & Leadership please contact Hannah VanSlambrouck or for the DrPH in Maternal and Child Health Policy please contact Misty Altiparmak.

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