How We Approach Our Work

We take a life course approach to improving health.

We support mothers, children, and families during each stage of life, from infancy through adulthood. 

We fund work that promotes family-centered, proven methods that improve a person’s health. 

We support:

  • Providers such as doctors, nurses, behavioral health clinicians, public health professionals, community health workers, home visitors, and others working together to care for people’s overall health
  • Innovations like telehealth to overcome obstacles people face in accessing the services that they need
  • Services to fill gaps so that children and youth with special health care needs and families in low-resource areas, whether rural or urban, get what they need to reach their full potential

We prioritize equity.

We have a goal to advance health equity for Maternal and Child Health (MCH) populations. To achieve this goal, we aim to:

  • Invest resources to support marginalized populations and communities
  • Collect and use data to measure and address disparities
  • Increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in our own organization

We gather data from our awardees to track progress. 

Our programs work collectively to improve outcomes. To show how our programs work together to improve health outcomes at the national level we

We lead.

We provide expertise & guidance to state public health agencies, national organizations, and community stakeholders.

We support the development of national Preventive Guidelines and Screenings for Women, Children, and Youth.

We respond to emerging & persistent needs of MCH populations. Read our newest Pulse Survey results that show COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the health of children under 18 years. Find our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn how our Emerging Issues in MCH Program strengthens the capacity of state and local organizations.

We coordinate these U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Advisory Committees:

We engage with states, communities, families, and youth.

We work together to improve public health and health care systems for our Nation’s mothers, children, and families. We recognize that states, communities, and families are experts in their own needs. We listen to the lived experience of people and families who are our partners.

We look to other factors that affect health beyond medical care.

Medical care accounts for only 10-20% of overall health.1

Through multiple approaches, we address other factors that affect health outcomes, such as:

  • Economic stability (for example: jobs, social services, insurance coverage)
  • Education
  • Social and community context (racism and discrimination, civic participation)
  • Neighborhood and built environments (access to housing and healthy food)

Our investments, expertise, and partnerships contribute to building healthy people and communities.


1 Hood, C. M., K. P. Gennuso, G. R. Swain, and B. B. Catlin. 2016. County health rankings: Relationships between determinant factors and health outcomes. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 50(2):129-135. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2015.08.024

Date Last Reviewed:  September 2021