Maternal and Child Health

The National Maternal and Child Health Workforce Development Center has been awarded a $1.74 M HRSA grant to further support development of state maternal and child health program leaders and staff members. Dorothy Cilenti, DrPH, clinical assistant professor of maternal and child health and adjunct clinical assistant professor of health policy and management at the Gillings School, is the program director. Read story.
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.
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
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.


Two Gillings Merit Scholars
Two maternal and child health master’s students, Marwa Elnagheeb and Alex Sanchez, were selected as Gillings Merit Scholars. Read story.

Adjunct professor receives AAP Child Health Advocate Award
Thomas Vitaglione, MPH, adjunct professor of maternal and child health and senior fellow at NC Child will accept the American Academy of Pediatrics Child Health Advocate Award Aug. 20. Read story.

Social support for adolescent mothers may reduce rapid repeat pregnancies
Attachments to  conventional institutions – school, family, peers, and public/private religious ties – are associated with a lower likelihood of rapid repeat pregnancies, according to an article published July 30 ahead of print in the Maternal and Child Health Journal by doctoral student Bianka Reese and professor and chair Carolyn Halpern.

Parental criminal justice involvement and child maltreatment topic of systematic review
Doctoral student Anna Austin published this month in Children and Youth Services Review a systematic review  that she began during her MHCH 801 class last fall. Results indicated a relationship between prior parental criminal justice involvement and child maltreatment.

News Brief Archive…


Part-time job fair
Wednesday, Aug. 24
1:00 – 4:00 pm
Great Hall, Frank Porter Graham Student Union
Registration link

Faculty candidate presentation
Monday, Aug. 29
10:00 – 11:00 AM
1301 McGavran Greenberg

Presented by:  Dr. Angela Parcesepe,  Integrating mental health care into HIV clinics:  Understanding needs, gaps, and the implementation environment.

Welcome back social
Monday, Aug 29
3:00 – 4:00 pm
Armfield Atrium, Michael Hooker Research Center

Faculty candidate presentation
Wednesday, Aug. 31
2:00 – 3:00 PM
2306 McGavran Greenberg

Presented by:  Dr. Kristen Hassmiller,  Practical Science Approaches to Strengthening Maternal and Child Health Systems in the Presence of Complexity.

UNC Holiday
Monday, Sept. 5