Office of Epidemiology and Research
Division of Research

Advancing Applied MCH Research

Word document icon 100 Years of the Maternal and Child Health Research Program


President Franklin D. Roosevelt Portrait
President Franklin D. Roosevelt

In the face of the Great Depression, cutbacks in Federal health programs, and declining health for mothers and children, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law new legislation designed to promote and improve maternal and child health nationwide. Title V of the Social Security Act was born. Seventy-five years later, Title V remains the longest lasting public health legislation in our nation's history, and the only Federal program that focuses solely on improving the health and wellbeing of all mothers and children.

Created as part of a broad-sweeping social rather than health legislation, the legacies of Title V programs are deep and widespread. Through Title V of the Social Security Act in 1935, the Federal Government pledged its support of State efforts to extend health and welfare services for mothers and children.

Since 1963, the Office of Epidemiology and Research, Division of Research has supported ground-breaking investigations that have significantly influenced clinical management, organization and delivery of health care services, preventive care, and early intervention for maternal and child health populations, including children with special health care needs. The mission of the Office of Epidemiology and Research, Division of Research echoes back to the earliest days of the Children's Bureau, whose 1912 mandate was to "investigate and report on all matters pertaining to the welfare of children."

Over the years, the research achievements of Title V-supported projects have been integrated into the ongoing care system for children and families throughout the country. Landmark projects have:

  • Produced guidelines for child health supervision from infancy through adolescence;
  • Influenced the nature of nutrition care during pregnancy and lactation;
  • Recommended standards for prenatal care;
  • Identified successful strategies for the prevention of childhood injuries; and
  • Developed health safety standards for out-of-home child care facilities.

Although Title V has been frequently amended over the years, the underlying goal has remained constant: continued improvement in the health, safety, and wellbeing of mothers and children.

Title V of the Social Security Act is administered by the Department of Health and Human Services, under the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) through the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB). The MCHB administers several major federal programs designed to improve maternal and child health and wellbeing, including: the Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grants to States; Healthy Start; and the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program.

Learn more about the Office of Epidemiology and Research, Division of Research:

Title V in Your State