1. MCH Workforce Development
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Funded Projects

MPH Maternal and Child Health Track

Project Website

Grant Status: Active

Training Category: Maternal and Child Health Public Health Catalyst Program

Project Director(s):

Keneshia Bryant-Moore, PhD, APRN, FNP-BC
Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
4301 West Markham Street
Slot #820
Little Rock, AR  72205
Phone: (501) 526-6698

Goals and Objectives:

The overall goal of the project is to develop a Maternal and Child Health track for the Master of Public Health (MPH) program at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in an effort to address the health needs of women and children. The project will not only lead to the development of the training program, but provide student scholarships, the initiation of a student-led Maternal and Child Health group, an annual Maternal and Child Health Summit, and increase and strengthening of collaborations with community organizations.

There is an urgent need to prepare more public health workers in Maternal and Child Health to address the disproportionate burden of suffering and disease experienced by Arkansans particularly those from underrepresented minority and ethnic groups and those residing in rural underserved communities. Residents of these communities experience compromised health because of low income, poor education, limited health care, and lack of resources to empower individuals to make significant life changes. All the variables impact the health and well-being of women and children. In 2015, 293 babies died in Arkansas before their first birthdays. The infant mortality rate for that year was 7.5 deaths per 1,000 live births. In comparison, the U.S. infant mortality rate was 5.9 in 2015. Additionally, in 2019, the national average for maternal mortality was 29.6 deaths per 100,000 live births. Arkansas' maternal death rate is the fifth highest in the nation with 44.5 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births annually. These startling statistics provide a significant rationale for the development of a program to train the next generation of public health workers in Maternal and Child Health.

The MPH in Maternal and Child Health program will develop and strengthen linkages between the College of Public Health and organizations and programs addressing the health needs of women and children throughout Arkansas. Additionally, the program will increase the pipeline for recruitment and retention of underrepresented and disadvantaged MPH students. Other linkages will be developed or bolstered with community partners who address the health needs of women and children, through students' service-learning projects. The program will provide students the support and skills needed to improve health outcomes in their communities using evidence-based approaches. Multiple strategies will be used to ensure success of the students, including scholarships, professional growth, and the development of leadership skills. Additionally, partnering agencies will benefit through student practicum experiences, the annual Maternal and Child Health summit and other collaborative initiatives.