Maternal and Child Health

The Frontline Health Workers Coalition, high-level policymakers from the World Health Organization, USAID, Ministry of Health of Malawi and other stakeholders discussed a realistic path forward to enabling the health workforce policies, investment and data needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, and global health workforce compacts during a United Nations General Assembly event September 18 in New York. Maternal and child health master's student and IntraHealth-UNC fellow, Dr. Saja Al-Falahi, spoke on her medical work with women in Iraq and Afghanistan, noting support needed for front-line health workers in low- and middle-income countries.
Message from the Chair
"We promote population health locally and globally by improving the health of women, children, youth, and families through sustained excellence in research; program and policy development, implementation, and evaluation; and by educating current and future MCH leaders and advocates." Read more.
Dr. Carolyn Halpern
Carolyn Halpern, PhD
Professor and Chair

Our maternal and child health department was founded in 1950 and is one of the world’s leading academic departments for research, teaching and practice.

We are dedicated to improving the health of women, children and families — domestically and globally. Our teaching program provides students with broad exposure to maternal and child health population needs and priorities, as well as the skills to become leaders of tomorrow. Our faculty members represent a rich mix of academic backgrounds and interests, contributing expertise and leadership in a wide range of disciplines. We invite you to join us as we embark upon an exciting new year of scholarship, leadership and service.

Our research strengths include:

  • Developing a strong evidence base to improve health policies, programs and practices for women and children, locally and globally;
  • Working in interdisciplinary teams to develop innovative solutions for addressing health disparities among women and children;
  • Using innovative approaches, including implementation science, to support the successful implementation of proven women’s and children’s interventions at scale; and
  • Using quantitative and qualitative methods to improve the health of women, children and families in North Carolina, the nation and the world.


Awards and funding
Departmental activities
Health disparities
Support MCH
Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute
Clinical Scholars National Leadership Initiative
Leadership consortium
MCH Workforce Development Center
WHO collaboration


Gillings Program Search (GPS) for prospective students provides a search option for our School’s degree and non-degree programs, as well as the ability to drill down to an overview of each program’s quick facts and related information about how to apply.


Sexual/gender identity, socioeconomic status and health
A newly awarded grant will address the limited knowledge about factors that affect resources and strains in relationship to sexual orientation and gender. Carolyn Halpern, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of Maternal and Child Health in the Gillings School of Global Public Health, is co-principal investigator. Read more.

U.S. abstinence-only-until-marriage policy questioned
A review article published in the Journal of Adolescent Health discusses the implications and contributions of U.S. abstinence-only-until-marriage polices and programs. Ilene Speizer, PhD, professor of maternal and child health at the UNC Gillings School, is a co-author of this article and a companion position paper for The Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine

News Brief Archive…


Fall break
Oct. 19-20

MCH Resume/CV Writing Workshop
Tuesday, Oct. 24
8:30 – 9:30 am
2301 McGavran-Greenberg
RSVP to Jennifer Cole, MPH, MSW, Director of Career Development

MCH Critical Conversation
Monday, Oct. 30
12:15 – 1:150 pm
417 Rosenau
Prutha Padhak will lead the discussion, entitled “Hurting the Hands that Heal: A Rising Epidemic Affecting Doctors in India”.