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Maternal and Child Health

Nicole Kahn, left, won second place in the UNC Graduate School's Three Minute Thesis final competition Nov 1 and receives a $600 prize. A doctoral student of maternal and child health in the Gillings School of Global Public Health, she is the only public health student to reach the finals. Aaron Devanathan, center, a doctoral student in pharmaceutical sciences, received the People's Choice Award of $400 and Katelyn Arnold, right, also a doctoral student in pharmaceutical sciences, won the first place award of $1000 and will represent UNC-Chapel Hill in the regional competition. Photo by Anna Austin.
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.


Major grant to expand work of Gillings School’s breastfeeding institute
The Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute has received a 3-year $830,000 grant from The Duke Foundation. Breastfeeding promotion and support with be provided to up to 20 hospital communities during the grant period.   Read more.

Gates Foundation grant to evaluate contraceptive method choices for youth in Africa, Asia
The project, conducted by UNC’s Carolina Population Center, will generate and synthesize evidence to help expand programs and policies on contraceptive method choice for youths in 10 sub-Saharan Africa and South Asian countries. Ilene Speizer, PhD, research professor of maternal and child health is the principal investigator. Read more.

News Brief Archive…


Annual Minority Health Conference
Register by Feb. 5 for the 39th conference Feb. 23. Learn more: minorityhealth.web.unc.edu.

MCH student awards
Apply now for competitive scholarship opportunities for currently enrolled MCH master’s and doctoral students.

Nominate an alum for Chipman award
See nomination guidelines to recognize an MCH alum who shows outstanding promise in the field.