1. MCH Knowledge Base/Context


MCH is a specialty area within the larger field of public health, distinguished by:

  • Promotion of the health and well-being of all women, children, adolescents, fathers, and families, especially in disadvantaged and vulnerable populations
  • A life cycle approach to theory and practice. The life cycle framework acknowledges that there are distinct periods in human development that present both risks and opportunities to intervene to make lasting improvements.

MCH focuses on individuals and populations, on health promotion and prevention, and on family-centered systems of care in communities.

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Knowledge Areas

Through participation in the training program a participant will know:

  • The history and current structure of the key MCH programs serving women, families and children.
  • The core values and strategic objectives that necessitate a special focus on the MCH populations. These core values and strategic objectives include a focus on prevention, individuals and populations, cultural competence, family-centered and community-based systems of services, elimination of health disparities, and evidence-based practice.
  • The services available through major MCH programs and their limitations and gaps.
  • The underlying principles of public health and population data collection and analysis and the strengths, limitations, and utility of such data.
  • How programs that focus on particular populations or communities and those that focus on delivery of individual health services work synergistically to improve the health of the Nation.

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Basic. Through participation in this program, a participant will:

  1. Use data to identify issues related to the health status of a particular MCH population group.
  2. Describe health disparities within MCH populations and offer strategies to address them.

Advanced. With more experience and building on the basic skills, MCH leaders will:

  1. Demonstrate the use of a systems approach to explain the interactions among individuals,
    groups, organizations and communities.
  2. Assess the effectiveness of an existing program for specific MCH population groups.

Each of the skills listed for the MCH leadership competency of MCH Knowledge Base could be assessed by a single written research assignment. While this could technically fulfill the competency requirements, it is much more likely that the intent is for trainees to demonstrate that they regularly and consistently integrate these skills into their practice.

Thus, while a written research assignment may be an important component of MCH interdisciplinary training for a variety of reasons, ongoing assessment of knowledge should be an inherent part of the assessment process of all competency skills.

Knowledge may be assessed either directly or indirectly. Direct assessment would include modalities such as oral presentations and written exams. Indirect assessment would view the learner’s actions and the outcomes of these actions and, if found to be appropriate, would assume that the necessary knowledge was present to be acted upon.

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Educational Experiences

  1. Review historical articles and web site (Hutchins VL. Maternal and Child Health Bureau: Roots. Pediatrics. 1994; 94(5): 695-699; http://www.mchb.hrsa.gov/timeline/)
  2. Review web site overview of public health (http://www.asph.org/document.cfm?page=300)
  3. Write a brief about an emerging local MCH public health issue
  4. Attend a meeting of a local MCH stakeholder group, provide a written summary of their approach
  5. Become familiar with state-specific information on the Title V Information web site, https://perfdata.hrsa.gov/mchb/mchreports/Search/search.asp, in order to: 1) describe a state’s plan to achieve one or more of the 18 National Performance measures or 2) identify the empirical basis (from needs assessment) for one state-specific performance measure.
  6. Observe a Title V MCH Block Grant Review
  7. Become involved, from a provider/stakeholder perspective, with the Title V MCH Block Grant 5-year needs assessment, https://perfdata.hrsa.gov/mchb/mchreports/needsAssessment.asp.

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Resources/Assessment Tools – 1. MCH Knowledge Base/Context

Key Documents

  • Kotch JB (Ed.) 2005. Maternal and Child Health: Programs, Problems, and Policy in Public Health, 2nd Edition. Sudbury MA: Jones and Bartlett.
  • Alexander GR. 2004. Maternal and child health (MCH). Encyclopedia of Health Care Management. CA: Sage Publications.
  • Dievler A, Grason H, Guyer B. “MCH functions framework: A guide to the role of government in maternal and child health in the 21st century”. Maternal and Child Health Journal. 1997;1(1): 5-13.
  • Maternal and Child Health Competencies, 2001. Association of Teachers of Maternal and Child Health (ATMCH), http://www.atmch.org/TeachingTools/mchcomps.pdf
  • Maternal and Child Health Bureau Strategic Plan, http://www.mchb.hrsa.gov/about/stratplan03-07.htm

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Web Sites

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Assessment Tools

Inclusion Criteria –

To be considered for initial inclusion in this web site, the materials had to meet several criteria:

  • the material needed to focus on one or more of the skills listed for a particular competency
  • the material needed to describe either a measurement instrument or theory that could support the creation of such an instrument
  • the material had to be publicly available, that is, where the item is not a commercial entity available for purchase
  • the material needed either psychometric information about its properties as a measure or, particularly in the case of material found only on the Web, a high degree of face validity

Copyright and Use Issues –

The materials initially described were identified for consideration by MCH interdisciplinary training programs. Many of these materials are copyrighted and thus, may not be copied, distributed, transmitted, or published without the express written permission of the copyright owner. It is the responsibility of each user to ascertain whether materials may be freely used or whether such permission is needed.

Written Assignments

Leadership Portfolio

Portfolios are collections of information that can be used to evaluate MCH knowledge in action.

Portfolios include materials prepared by a learner to demonstrate learning in response to a plan. There is increasing evidence of the utility of portfolios for assessment of learning and for competency assurance in health care.

For a portfolio to be effective, it should include:

  • a learning plan that contains specific goals and objectives
  • materials that demonstrate achievement relative to the learning plan
  • learner reflections
  • learner and faculty evaluations of the material

The ACGME, in its draft Toolbox of Assessment Methods, provides some information about the properties and uses of portfolios for assessment.

Information at: http://www.acgme.org/outcome/assess/toolbox.asp.

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