Headshot Carolyn Halpern, PhD

Dr. Carolyn Halpern

We believe maternal and child health is the cornerstone of local and global population health and well-being. The Department of Maternal and Child Health at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, in partnership with other organizations and researchers, is committed to advancing maternal and child health for all people, grounded in the principles of reproductive and social justice We are committed to improving maternal, child, youth and family health through innovative research, high impact evidence-based policy and program development, and an academic program designed to train the MCH leaders of tomorrow.

The United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals are integrally linked to maternal and child health. Improving the well-being of parents, children, and families ultimately improves the overall health of the entire community. When a global crisis such as a pandemic, or a regional issue such as prolonged drought or natural disaster hits, delivering appropriate support to parents and children is vital to long-term recovery. The challenges are big, and addressing the disparities among different populations is of critical importance. As a result, the need for teachers, researchers, and practice leaders in the field of maternal and child health has never been greater. Our department strives to train a diverse workforce that has the cultural humility and extensive skills to make a difference.

Our faculty bring training and expertise in a variety of fields at the intersections of the physical, social, and biological sciences, and address issues related to reproductive health, equity, intersectionality, life course, and implementation science. In the current US context of dismantling reproductive rights, affirming care rights for the LGBTQI population, and efforts for inclusion, the need for MCH expertise and advocacy is greater than ever. Our collaborative and interdisciplinary approach ensures that our students have broad exposure to every facet of the multiple factors impacting maternal and child health both in the United States and around the world. Whether the issues are related to building a national learning network aimed at preventing deaths related to pregnancy and childbirth or collaborating with health care providers on how to best support childcare facilities and maternity programs during a pandemic, our faculty and students are on the front lines.

Our department is home to multiple Centers and Institutes that support this work, including the Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute; the MCH Workforce Development Center; the UNC Center of Excellence in MCH Education, Science, and Practice; the NC Child Care Health and Safety Resource Center; and the World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Research Evidence for Sexual and Reproductive Health.

We offer master’s, doctoral and dual degree options that encompass both domestic and global study, and include both research and practice. Our curriculum allows students and their faculty mentors to design learning opportunities that are uniquely suited to individual career goals. Our students are also exposed to and collaborate on some of the most innovative research being done on these issues today, as we work to further the science of maternal and child health and identify better ways to deploy existing and new knowledge to the field.

Our graduates provide an unparalleled support network of professionals who are eager to provide career advice, connections for field placements and jobs, as well as mentoring. Our graduates work in a broad array of settings, including state and local health agencies, academic and research institutions, and local, national, and international non-profits that support MCH.

If you are seeking a career in a field that will make a difference in the lives of women, children, youth and families, we hope you’ll consider joining OUR community.

Contact your Academic Coordinator.
Assistant to Chair: Katie Lucey
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135 Dauer Drive
401 Rosenau Hall, CB #7445
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7445
(919) 966-2017