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H H S Department of Health and Human Services
Health Resources and Services Administration
Maternal and Child Health

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MCH Research Program

The MCH Research Program works to improve the health of mothers, children and adolescents by supporting innovative research that has the potential to improve health services and delivery of care for MCH populations. 

Authorized by Title V, Section 502(a)(1) of the Social Security Act, the program is administered by the Division of Research, Office of Epidemiology and Research, Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).  Since 1965, the MCH Research Program has supported meritorious applied research related to maternal and child health services. These investigations have influenced clinical management, organization and delivery of health care services, preventive care and early intervention for MCH populations, including those of children with special health care needs.

MCH research grants are awarded to public or nonprofit institutions of higher learning and public or private nonprofit agencies engaged in research or in programs relating to maternal and child health and/or services for children with special health care needs.

Strategic Research Issues

The MCHB Strategic Research agenda addresses current and emerging issues of importance in the field.  Current projects advance our understanding of the following strategic research issues:

  • Public health service systems and infrastructures at the community, State and/or national levels, as they apply to different maternal and child health (MCH) populations based on demographic, epidemiological, and/or other factors.
  • MCH services and systems of care efforts to eliminate health disparities and barriers to health care access for MCH populations. These health disparities and barriers to health care access may include racial/ethnic, cultural, linguistic, gender, developmental, geographic, immigrant, underserved, economic considerations, etc.
  • Services and systems to assure quality of care for MCH populations.
  • Promoting the healthy development of MCH populations.

MCH populations of special interest include the following:

  • Rural and Urban
  • Low-Income
  • High Risk
  • Immigrant
  • Medically Underserved
  • Racial and Ethnic Minorities

Please see additional information about MCHB Strategic Research Issues


The MCH Research Program supports investigator-initiated research involving primary data collection and secondary data analysis studies as well as research networks.  The following programs are supported:

  • R40 Multiyear and SDAS grants
  • R40 Autism Intervention research grants
  • MCH Research Networks:
    • Pediatric Research in Office Settings (PROS and EPROS) Networks
    • Pregnancy-related Care Research Network (PRCRN)
    • Life Course Research Network (LCRN)
    • Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics Research Network (DBPNet)
    • Autism Intervention Research Network on Behavioral Health (AIR-B)
    • Autism Intervention Research Network on Physical Health (AIR-P)

More information about these programs is available at MCH Research Program. Additional detail about individual projects is available at MCH Funded Projects

Other activities of the MCH Research Program focus on dissemination of grantee findings and special feature topics related to MCH research that are made available to the MCH community and general public via webinars and podcasts.  More information about grantee findings and publications is available at MCH Funded Projects.  Information about webinars and podcasts on special feature topics is found at MCH Podcasts and Webinars.  


Grantees have a strong track record of disseminating research findings in peer-reviewed publications.  In FY 2010, current and past research grantees produced nearly 100 peer-reviewed publications.  Through support of cutting edge research and strong dissemination efforts, the MCH Research Program has a critical role in improving health care services that lead to improved health of mothers, children and adolescents.