Maternal and Child Health

Christine Tucker, PhD (l), received the SPH innovative teaching teaching award for MCH as selected by students. She is pictured with Carolyn Halpern, PhD, interim chair and former adviser. [Read more].
Message from the Interim 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.
Carolyn Halpern, PhD
Professor and Interim 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
Support MCH
Health disparities
WHO collaboration
Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute
Leadership consortium
Departmental activities


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.


Pollock successfully defends dissertation
“The impact of child maltreatment on the development of alcohol and substance use: comparing the trajectories of alcohol and substance use from adolescence to adulthood between victims and non-victims of child maltreatment” by McLean Dickinson Pollock.

AMCHP video reports MCH PHLI outcomes
Claudia Fernandez, DrPH, clinical assistant professor in MCH, is PI and director of the MCH Public Health Leadership Institute.

Alum publishes study on smoking disparities among same-sex couples and tobacco retailer density
Joseph Lee, MPH (MCH ’08) and doctoral candidate in health behavior, published online in Nicotine & Tobacco Research. [Read more]

Impact of financial downturn, budget cuts on health services for women and children
Dorothy Cilenti, DrPH, led study on maternal health service use and outcomes among Medicaid-enrolled pregnant women of state in Journal of Public Health Management and Practice. [Read more]

Doctoral student, alum examine developmental origins of chronic inflammation
Leslie deRosset, MPH and current doctoral student, with alum Kelly Strutz, PhD (MCH ’13) review the relationship between birth weight and c-reactive protein in Annals of Epidemiology epub ahead of print.

News Brief Archive…


Parcesepe dissertation defense
Wednesday, March 25
10-11 am, 133 Rosenau
“Interpersonal violence and HIV sexual risk factors among female sexworkers in Mombasa, Kenya: The influence of alcohol harm reduction and early initiation of sex work”

Save the Date
MCH Family Reunion/47th Annual Fred T. Foard Jr. Memorial Lecture
Thursday, April 16
Friday Center for Continuing Education
Register to attend by April 10