Research & Epidemiology

MCHB promotes the health and well-being of women, children and families by providing national leadership in the advancement and use of scientific knowledge to inform Maternal and Child Health (MCH) research.

We do this in partnership with state and local MCH programs, academic institutions, professional organizations, and other federal government agencies.


MCHB's extramural research program supports research work that addresses the needs of economically or medically vulnerable maternal and child health (MCH) populations.

The program has an interdisciplinary science focus that allows researchers to explore the interwoven roles of families, neighborhoods, health care services, and health policies.

Which Projects Does MCHB Fund?

To inform policy and program development, we fund projects that:

  • Examine health disparities;
  • Investigate factors that promote quality of care;
  • Uncover the social and environmental context of child and family health and well-being;
  • Encourage an integrated view of family health over the lifespan and across generations.

Field-initiated Innovation Research Studies (FIRST)

MCHB supports cutting-edge investigator-initiated research that has resulted in critical advances in health care services and improved health of MCH populations. MCHB’s FIRST investments are in two research areas: overall maternal and child health; and autism specifically.

  • R40 MCH Field-Initiated Research Studies (MCH FIRST): 3-year awards for protocol research focused on maternal and child health;
  • R40 Autism Field-Initiated Research Studies (Autism FIRST): 3-year awards for protocol research focused on Autism Spectrum Disorder

Secondary Data Analysis Research Studies (SDAR)

MCHB supports researchers to conduct rigorous analyses utilizing advanced epidemiological and biostatistical methods. These analyses address issues in maternal and child health using existing national or regional databases or administrative records.

MCHB’s SDAR investments are in two research areas: overall maternal and child health; and autism specifically.

  • R40 MCH Secondary Data Analysis Research (MCH SDAR): 1-year awards for analyses of existing national datasets and/or administrative records focused on maternal and child health.
  • R40 Autism Secondary Data Analysis Research (Autism SDAR): 1-year awards for analyses of existing national datasets and/or administrative records focused on Autism Spectrum Disorder

Search funded research projects by fiscal year, type and other categories.

Research Networks

MCHB Research Network programs provide infrastructure to promote community partnerships and facilitate the dissemination of research findings to providers and families, with the goal of building healthier communities through interdisciplinary Research Networks.

Through its Research Networks, MCHB supports thematic research on unique high-priority topics in the fields of maternal and child health, generally, and autism, specifically. Currently, MCHB supports 10 research networks:

Maternal and Child Health Research Network Program
Autism Research Network Program

Access the research networks we fund towards our mutual goal of improving the health and well-being of pregnant women and children.

Single Investigator Innovation Program (SIIP)

Single Investigator Innovation Program (SIIP) awards are designed to advance the evidence base by investing in programs of research that are of high priority to MCHB and that utilize a combination of protocol research and secondary data analysis strategies.

MCHB currently supports two Single Investigator Program Research awards:


MCHB’s epidemiology program works to assess the causes and impacts of health outcomes among MCH populations and focuses on three key activities:

  • Building data capacity at the national, state, and local levels;
  • Strengthening the present and future workforce in MCH epidemiology and research;
  • Disseminating information and strengthening the evidence base in MCH.

Build Data Capacity at the National, State, and Local Levels

We support the development, implementation, and evaluation of MCH programs that are evidence-based.

MCHB has funded and directed the National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs (NS-CSHCN) and the National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH) since 2001. The surveys have been redesigned and are now a single, annual survey, the National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH) which started in 2016.

The survey provides national and state-specific data on multiple aspects of children’s lives—including special health care needs, physical and mental health, access to quality health care, and the child’s family, neighborhood, school, and social circumstances.

Strengthen the Present and Future Workforce Capacity

These programs are targeted at the current workforce engaged at the state and local levels through trainings, webinars, a special course dedicated to MCH epidemiologists working at the state and local levels, as well as co-sponsorship of the biannual MCH Epidemiology Conference Exit Disclaimer.

Programs for the future workforce are designed to build necessary skills and provide hands-on experience through work in a state or local MCH department.

The MCH Epidemiology Training Course

In partnership with CityMatCH exit disclaimer icon and CDC, we host an annual three to five day intensive training course aimed at full-time staff at a state, territorial, tribal, county or city health agency or community-based organization.

Course content covers a broad-base of applied epidemiology and statistics fundamentals for continuing education, including:

  • needs assessment and prioritization,
  • performance measurement and trend analysis,
  • program and policy evaluation,
  • quality improvement analysis and reporting,
  • multivariable regression, and
  • effective data presentation and translation, as well as
  • some specialized topics that vary from year to year..

To maximize training effectiveness, the target skill level alternates from basic/intermediate to intermediate/advanced. Find out about 2020's training course - access resources from previous years.Exit Disclaimer

Disseminate Information and Strengthen the Evidence Base

MCHB shares data and research with a variety of audiences by:

Date Last Reviewed:  September 2020

Contact Us

Michael D. Kogan, Ph.D., Director MCHB Office of Epidemiology and Research

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MCHB offers two series of webinars to provide information related to MCH data and research
DataSpeak is a series of webinars, each featuring a special topic related to Maternal and Child Health (MCH) data. Each event features one or more speakers who are considered experts in their field.
EnRICH (Research Innovations and Challenges) Webinar Series features one or more experts speaking about topics related to Maternal and Child Health research.

Related Resources

Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics

By supporting collaboration between federal agencies, the Forum works to improve consistency in the collection, reporting and publishing of federal data on children and families. 

Data Resource Center for Child & Adolescent Health (DRC) exit disclaimer

The DRC provides children’s health data on a variety of important topics, including the health and well-being of children and access to quality care.