About our Department
The Department of Maternal and Child Health at Gillings is a world-class hub of research, teaching, and practice. Our mission is to promote the health of the population 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 education to support current and future MCH leaders and advocates. We define health in the broadest sense to include physical, political, economic, cultural, and psychosocial factors.

We strive to provide a mixture of disciplinary backgrounds and interests within the faculty and to recruit students of varying ethnic and educational backgrounds, disciplines, experience, interests, and skills. By enhancing students’ skills, we seek to prepare professional public health workers who are sensitive to health needs, cultural differences, and the dynamic requirements of change in urban and rural societies, both domestic and international. The Department of Maternal and Child Health at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health is committed to advancing maternal and child health for all people, grounded in the principles of reproductive justice and high-quality evidence on sexual and reproductive health, child and adolescent well-being, human lactation, LGBTQ health, and gender-based violence prevention programming. Read more about our department.

Our History

Since the passage of the Sheppard-Towner Act in 1921, the Children’s Bureau had aided programs designed to reduce maternal and infant mortality. The expansion of these programs increased the demand for professionals in the field. In response to this, the Department of Maternal and Child Health was established in 1950 with funds from the US Department of Labor’s Children’s Bureau. Dean McGavran selected Dr. Sidney Shaw Chipman to head the department.

The department has grown substantially in size, funding and impact over the years and today is the only free-standing MCH department in the US. Our work continues to be of major importance for population health. For example, the United States Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade has profound negative implications for the health of the populations that the Department of Maternal and Child Health is dedicated to serving – women and pregnant people, children, and families. Scientific evidence demonstrates that lack of access to comprehensive reproductive health care is associated with multiple negative health and economic outcomes for people who need abortions and for their families. These negative consequences disproportionately affect women and birthing people of color, those with low incomes, and those living in rural areas, further increasing the already unacceptable maternal and child health inequities in our country.

Accounting Technician

Quetta Long

Department of Maternal and Child Health (MCH) staff member, Quetta Long, combines her love of supporting mothers and babies with her accounting vocation while holding the distinct and unique status of 20 service years – the longest of any MCH staff member.

Centers and Institutes
The Department of Maternal and Child Health is dedicated to both furthering the science of maternal and child health and to applying existing and new knowledge to the field. We routinely work in close collaboration with domestic and global public health professionals, clinicians, policy and community leaders, academics, and a wide array of governmental, non-profit and private organizations.
Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute
The UNC Center of Excellence in Maternal and Child Health Education, Science and Practice
WHO Collaborating Center for Research Evidence for Sexual and Reproductive Health
Our Programs
MPH (Maternal, Child and Family Health)
MPH (Global Health)
MPH-MSW Dual Degree
Department Awards and Funding

The Department of Maternal and Child Health is pleased that so many of our students receive competitive awards through the Graduate School, the University and other sources. Our Department also provides limited support through two Maternal and Child Health Bureau Training Grants - Leadership Education in Maternal and Child Health (SPH/MCH) and Doctoral Training in MCH and Epidemiology.

In addition, we have several scholarships that are competitively awarded each year through our MCH Awards Committee. These awards have been made possible through the commitment and generosity of private MCH donors with the goal of promoting and celebrating excellence in maternal and child health.

Click here to read more about Awards and Funding

Students fund their education through a combination of sources, including loans, fellowships and awards, assistantships and grants. Several awards and scholarships are supported by generous contributions to the School and University who value the current and future contributions of our students.

Contact: Sarah Kitchens, Funding and Awards Coordinator, sarah_kitchens@unc.edu  

Promoting healthier families worldwide
Apply Now
Contact your Academic Coordinator.
Assistant to Chair: Katie Lucey
Looking for someone else?

135 Dauer Drive
401 Rosenau Hall, CB #7445
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7445
(919) 966-2017