happy children, mother and child, and expecting mother and father

MCH Leadership Competencies

Competency 1: MCH Knowledge Base/Context

DEFINITION

Maternal and child health (MCH) is a specialty area within the larger field of public health, distinguished by:

  • Promotion of the health and wellbeing of all women, children, adolescents/young adults, and families, especially in geographically isolated and economically or medically vulnerable populations. Particular attention is directed to the MCH population domains: maternal/ women's health, adolescent/young adult health, perinatal/infant health, children with special health care needs, child health, and crosscutting/ life course.
  • A focus on individuals as well as the families, communities, populations, and systems of care in communities that support these individuals.
  • A life course perspective as an organizing framework that acknowledges distinct periods in human development and presents both risks and opportunities for interventions to make lasting improvements.

KNOWLEDGE AREAS

MCH leaders will demonstrate a working knowledge of:

  • MCH populations and the history and current structure of the key MCH programs serving these populations, including state Title V programs.
  • The core values and strategic objectives with a special focus on:
    • Prevention
    • Individuals and populations
    • Life course, including key transitions and intergenerational influences on health
    • Cultural competence
    • Family-professional partnerships
    • Organizational/interagency partnerships
    • Community-based systems of services
    • Health equity and elimination of health disparities
    • Evidence-based practice
  • The services available through major MCH programs and their limitations and gaps.
  • Key policies that affect MCH populations.
  • The underlying principles of public health, population data collection, and analysis as well as the strengths, limitations, and utility of such data.
  • The role of federal, state, and local government in ensuring equitable healthcare for women, children, youth, families, and children and youth with special health care needs (CYSHCN).
  • The synergistic relationship between programs focusing on particular populations or communities and those focusing on individual health service delivery.

SKILLS

Foundational. At a foundational level, MCH leaders will:

  1. Describe MCH populations and provide examples of MCH programs, including Title V programs.
  2. Describe the utility of a systems approach in understanding the interaction of individuals, groups, organizations, and communities in health outcomes.
  3. Use data to identify issues related to the health status of a particular MCH population group and use these to develop or evaluate policy.
  4. Describe health disparities within MCH populations and offer strategies to address them.
  5. Evaluate critically evidence-based programs and policies for translation of research to practice.
  6. Understand the value of partnering with family- and community-led organizations to identify ways to engage families and community members in efforts to improve programs, policies, and practices.
  7. Advanced. Building on the foundational skills, MCH leaders will:
  8. Demonstrate the use of a systems approach to examine the interactions among individuals, groups, organizations, and communities.
  9. Assess the effectiveness of an existing program for specific MCH population groups.

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