Grant Status: Active
Grant Title: Reaching Practicing MCH Professionals in the Rocky Mountain Region
Kathy I Kennedy, DrPH, MA
Colorado School of Public Health, University of Colorado Denver
13001 E. 17th Place
Campus Box B119
Denver, CO 80045
In this project, the Colorado School of Public Health will develop and deliver graduate level Maternal and Child Health (MCH) courses to address the current educational needs of geographically-isolated MCH working professionals in our region. The School will offer these (and other) courses, without charge, for a total of at least 250 academic credits, to MCH workers in rural, frontier, and tribal underserved areas of the Rocky Mountain region. These credits can be directed toward a public health Certificate in Maternal and Child Health, and ultimately to the master of public health degree. The project addresses the target students' major barriers to higher education, namely distance and cost. The project will create educational opportunities that are distance-based, and as flexible as possible to respond to the needs of working people. As far as possible, the MCH courses will be offered as free-standing, 1-credit opportunities, and offered on-line during most or all semesters of the year. In addition to the MCH courses, the project includes funding to cover the cost of the other required, basic public health courses so that some students can complete a public health Certificate in Maternal and Child Health without cost within the duration of this project. The MCH courses will respond to the immediate needs of MCH workers in the hard-to-reach areas of our region. Existing information on these immediate needs suggests that MCH issues (such as injury and violence, reproductive health and diabetes as opposed to, for example, MCH history or program planning) are of the greatest interest to potential MCH students who would be eligible. Topics that are already of interest (and relevant to their MCH work) will be offered first. After some experience with useful courses on "issues", we anticipate that the hard-to-reach MCH workers will be compelled to continue their MCH learning in areas that they may not have immediately recognized as important (such as program evaluation.) Accordingly, on a regular basis, the project will seek the input of the target students (who are working MCH professionals) as well as their employers and other community partners, about their MCH-work-related interests. MCH faculty will travel to underserved areas to conduct workforce development workshops and to meet with partner organizations and prospective students. The project also supports student travel to regional public health conferences where academic credit is earned for guided learning on current issues and best practices. Students will also benefit from networking with other MCH professionals The main geographic area that the project will serve comprises the states of Wyoming and Colorado, and the Wyoming-South Dakota tribes. These areas have a long history with the Colorado School of Public Health and its Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health.