Healthier families worldwide

The Department of Maternal and Child Health at Gillings is a world class hub of research, teaching and practice dedicated to improving the health of women, children and families — domestically and globally. Our approach provides students with thorough exposure to maternal and child health population needs and priorities, as well as with the requisite skills to become the leaders of tomorrow.

Our Recent News

Assistant professor Dr. Aunchalee Palmquist has been selected as the recipient of this year's Gillings Faculty Award for Excellence in Health Equity Research. Dr. Palmquist is lead for the Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute (CGBI) Lactation and Infant Feeding in Emergencies (L.I.F.E.™) Initiative and serves as the CGBI representative on the World Health Organization/UNICEF Global Breastfeeding Collective, the Emergency Nutrition Network Infant Feeding in Emergencies Core Group.

Dr. Aunchalee Palmquist
Aunchalee Palmquist, PhD, MA, IBCLC

Coronavirus Affects Everyone: The Department of Maternal and Child Health Responds

The Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute (CGBI) in the Department of Maternal and Child Health (MCH) provides support to hospitals throughout North and South Carolina through the ENRICH Carolinas breastfeeding training program. As these health facilities respond to the novel coronavirus outbreak, Dr. Aunchalee Palmquist is spearheading efforts to provide implementation support and guidance for recommended infant feeding practices in the context of COVID-19.

Staff members in the N.C. Child Care Health and Safety Resource Center — which is managed through MCH — are working closely with NCDHHS leadership to support child care facilities throughout the state of North Carolina, in part by developing interim guidance (PDF) and handwashing resources (PDF) for child care settings. Program staff also have been temporarily assigned to advise child care facilities in regions that do not currently have health consultation support. In addition, project director Jacquie Simmons is a member of the COVID-19 Governor’s Education and Nutrition Working Group.

An illustration from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals the basic form of the virus blamed for the outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China.

Message from the Chair

Department Statement on Tenure Case of Nikole Hannah-Jones

The Department of Maternal and Child Health affirms the open letter sent by Dr. Mimi Chapman, Chair of the UNC-CH faculty. Academic freedom, and transparent and equitable processes related to employee hiring and faculty appointments are critical to our institution. We look forward to fair and appropriate action in the tenure case of Nikole Hannah-Jones.

Centers of Excellence Logo

Select this logo to view information about our Centers of Excellence distinction.


Our faculty members represent a rich mix of academic backgrounds and professional experience to address health inequities domestically and globally. Faculty and students work together on topics that impact pregnant women, children, and families, including issues such as family planning and reproductive health, maternal mortality and morbidity, infant and child health and well-being, nutrition, housing, violence, gender, and prenatal and postnatal care and breastfeeding.

Do You

  • Envision a career working to support the well-being of women and children?
  • Want to learn how to translate evidence into action to dramatically improve family health?
  • Want to learn how MCH impacts health and well-being across the life course?
  • Seek an interdisciplinary learning environment in a unique setting?

Explore our Department