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Funded Projects

Maternal and Child Health-Leadership Education Advocacy Research Network (MCH-LEARN)

Grant Status: Active

Training Category: LEAP

Project Director(s):

Harolyn M.E. Belcher, MD, MHS
Kennedy Krieger Institute
707 North Broadway, ,
Baltimore, MD  21205
Phone: 410-499-3650
Email: Belcher@kennedykrieger.org

Nikeea Copeland Linder, PhD, MPH
Kennedy Krieger Institute
707 N Broadway
Baltimore, MD  21205
Phone: 443-923-5901
Email: Lindern@kennedykrieger.org

Goals and Objectives:

Elimination of health disparities is a Foundational Principle of Healthy People 2030. A well-trained, diverse, and culturally competent Maternal and Child Health (MCH) workforce is imperative to eliminate health disparities. The Maternal and Child Health- Leadership Education, Advocacy, and Research Network (MCH-LEARN) will provide up to 50 undergraduate freshman and sophomore students from underrepresented populations in MCH (UP-MCH) professions with a comprehensive interdisciplinary MCH learning experience. MCH-LEARN is in response to funding opportunity HRSA-21-034, entitled "MCH-Leadership, Education, and Advancement in Undergraduate Pathways (LEAP)," and will leverage an MCH leadership learning network formed by:

  • Kennedy Krieger Institute Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities Program
  • Historically Black Colleges and Universities
  • Johns Hopkins University Schools of Medicine and Nursing and Bloomberg School of Public Health
  • Parent's Place of Maryland, and
  • The Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities

The MCH-LEARN will collaborate with other MCH LEAP Training Programs to develop an MCH-focused mentorship and science- based practice experience. Through interdisciplinary training, scholars will increase their understanding of the social determinants of health and enhance their academic and professional career opportunities in MCH.

The goals of the MCH-LEARN are to:

  1. Recruit up to 50 scholars from UP-MCH to participate in the MCH-LEARN program;
  2. Implement MCH-LEARN Seminars including
    1. Prevention of Health Disparities across Life Course Trajectory,
    2. Professional Development and Advocacy,
    3. Research Design Seminar,
    4. Research Accountability Groups,
    5. Family as Faculty,
    6. CDC Winnable Battles,
    7. Room to Grow: Journey to Cultural and Linguistic Competency Conference, and
    8. Developmental Disabilities Self-Advocacy Day;
  3. Provide a Summer MCH Research Institute including MCH research and clinical experiences;
  4. Disseminate MCH information and career development through presentations at national scientific meetings and MCH LEARN scholar-led high school seminars, and
  5. Increase the number of scholars from UP who enter MCH fields.

Mentored learning experiences will emphasize cultural competency, social and policy determinants of health, and strategies to promote health equity-focused solutions, especially among children and youth with special health care needs. MCH LEARN scholars will complete an Individual Development Plan. MCH-LEARN scholars will develop and present MCH research at Johns Hopkins, CDC, and national research meetings. MCH- LEARN scholars will coordinate and participate in a monthly seminar for high school students interested in healthcare fields. MCH-LEARN will be evaluated through multi- informant assessments to measure knowledge, attitudes, and practices necessary to assist in preparation for graduate school in an MCH field. The MCH-LEARN will support scholar matriculation to graduate, medical, and doctoral programs.



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