Why Mothers, Children and Reproductive Health Matter

There has been remarkable progress in reproductive and child health, largely due to new access to vaccination programs to protect children against illnesses as well as expanded programs to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Although the progress made in these areas is encouraging, there is still significant need for research and innovation in the area of postnatal care for women and newborns, especially when it comes to preventing and treating infections. The number of deaths in children under the age of five has decreased globally but the proportion of deaths that occur during the newborn period has grown in recent years. Approximately 800 women still die each day from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth, with the main cause being the lack of access to skilled care.

Current Research

The designation of the Gillings School’s Department of Maternal and Child Health as a World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Research Evidence for Sexual and Reproductive Health reflects the Gillings School’s global leadership in this arena.  The Collaborating Center provides substantial support to the WHO Department of Reproductive Health and Research (RHR) in its development of practice guidance and recommendations for medical eligibility for contraceptive use, ensuring that guidance remains up to date and is based on the best available science. In 2016, the Collaborating Center was awarded funding from the United States Department of Health and Human Services’ (DHHS) Office of Population Affairs. The Collaborating Center and JSI Research and Training Institute Inc. will serve as the new Family Planning National Training Center for Service Delivery Improvement.

Breastfeeding and maternity care have lifelong implications for the mother and child in promoting optimal health and development and preventing the development of chronic diseases.  The Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute  promotes breastfeeding, birth spacing, and safe birthing through technical assistance, research, and the education of current and future health care practitioners.


Additional Research in the Field of Maternal, Child, and Reproductive Health

Study finds association of childhood abuse, neglect with misuse of prescription opioids in early adulthood

Tully hopes to serve mothers, infants with innovative new bassinet

Implementing Innovations in Global Women’s, Children’s, and Adolescents’ Health: Realizing the Potential for Implementation Science

UNC study links low carbohydrate intake to increased risk of birth defects

Study reveals limitations of maternal health services for deaf women in Cape Town

FY 2017 National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) actively funded projects

Too few pre-teens receive recommended vaccinations, especially for HPV


Highlighted Leaders in the Field