About Our Research

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. Our Department synergistically benefits from the research focus and capacity of the Gillings School and the MCH practice community.

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. Our students and our MCH alumni play vital roles in developing and conducting research and in research dissemination.

CGBI members smile for a photo.
The Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute (CGBI), part of the Department of Maternal and Child Health, supports safe breastfeeding and education services through its “Baby-Friendly” initiative which has positive, long-term health impacts for approximately 76,000 babies in North Carolina.

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.

Primary Research Interests

Reproductive Health and Women’s Health

  • Monitoring maternal morbidity
  • Prematurity and pre-term birth
  • HIV and AIDS in developing countries
  • Contraceptive use dynamics
  • Environmental exposures related to reproductive and developmental outcomes
  • Drug and alcohol use during pregnancy
  • Tobacco use during pregnancy
  • Violence against women
  • Prevention of unintended pregnancy and STIs
  • Obesity among reproductive-aged women
  • Mother-child dyads

Infant, Child and Adolescent Health

  • Infant mortality
  • Breast feeding and complementary feeding
  • Health and safety in childcare
  • Infant and child growth and development
  • Children and adolescents with special health care needs
  • Autism and developmental disabilities
  • Birth defects monitoring
  • Childhood hunger
  • Biosocial models of adolescent development
  • Child abuse and neglect
  • Child health policy and service systems
  • Access to care for vulnerable children
  • Role of migration on child health status and access to care
  • Child and adolescent injury prevention

Health Inequities and Health Economics

  • Monitoring and evaluation methods for population and health programs
  • Social services for children and families (statistical) methodology
  • Health disparities by race, ethnicity and socioeconomic status
  • Neighborhood effects on health
  • Child survival, displaced populations, HIV/AIDS orphans
  • Human rights
  • Impact of globalization