A new academic track that promotes the health of mothers and their babies and children will be launched by the Yale School of Public Health at the start of the new academic year this fall.
Three years in the making, the Maternal and Child Health Promotion Track (MCHP) will be available to all students enrolled in the Master of Public Health program.
The program takes a multidisciplinary approach to implement evidence-based practices to improve maternal and infant (MCH) health outcomes. Students will be trained in the importance and application of implementation science to MCH promotion. They will also be required to complete three courses and an internship or practicum to gain specific applied experience in this field.
“We are very excited that we have just received approval for our brand new maternal and child health education, which in many ways answers the popular demand from students and faculty from various departments,” said Professor Rafael Pérez-Escamilla, Ph.D., MS, director of the new track as well as YSPH’s Global Health Concentration and Office of Public Health Practice.
The song’s co-director, Donna Spiegelman, Sc.D., the director of the Center for Methods in Implementation and Prevention Science (CMIPS), is equally excited about the launch. “I am delighted that the MCHP program is part of our activity portfolio,” she said in an email, “and I look forward to engaging students in innovative training programs and designing and implementing new projects to bridge the gap in the health of mothers and children.
It’s a sentiment shared by YPSH Dean Sten Vermund, MD, Ph.D. “The job is good for mothers and children, good for the environment that fosters families, good for social justice in the United States, good for tackling challenges in low- and middle-income countries, and great for our students looking for these interdisciplinary training, ”he said.
And that excitement has apparently been shared among MPH students as well.
“Rafael had assured me that there was great interest among our students,” said Spiegelman, “and he turned out to be right. We have only just begun to notify current and prospective Yale MPH students about this track and students are already applying. ”
The MCHP track, Spiegelman said, came about through discussions with Pérez-Escamilla after he became one of CMIPS’s associate faculties. Pérez-Escamilla said it was time and he explained why.
“First of all, we know that it has been very well demonstrated by hundreds, if not thousands of studies, that the first 1,000 days of life – that is, pregnancy or pregnancy, plus the first two years of life – presents a very critical opportunity for advancing health. infant growth and development, “he said.” Second, promoting optimal nutrition, health and care through the implementation of high-quality, evidence-based interventions during this time has the tremendous potential to enhance health and development outcomes for babies and children. short, medium and long term. And we know this translates into healthier families, healthier societies and, at the end of the day, improved national development and improved environmental sustainability and planetary health. So basically the first 1000 days of life, in many ways, is the foundation for the ability of nations and the world to achieve the 2030 UN goals for sustainable development to achieve and achieve. ”
Spiegelman gave a blatant example of the inequalities the circuit aims to address.
“Maternal mortality is arguably the world’s greatest health inequality, with childbirth deaths about 100 times higher in some sub-Saharan countries than in Northern Europe,” she explains. “With such low rates in high-income countries, maternal mortality is clearly almost entirely preventable through interventions known to us; these include the use of simple hygienic administration practices, control of maternal hypertension through inexpensive generic drugs, use of oxytocin to prevent excessive bleeding, and calcium supplementation in regions where dietary calcium intake is low. The problem is getting these cheap and simple interventions adopted, contextually adapted and scaled up. ”
Pérez-Escamilla said the emphasis on the implementation framework they give to this new track is unique worldwide, ‘because we think that the science in the field of implementation is much advanced and we now have access to very powerful methods to understand not only how to deliver interventions on a large scale, but also how to do that with quality through innovative approaches. ”
So at the end of the day, a very important focus of this track is bridging that gap between what happens in the process of translating the evidence from small-scale, evidence-based interventions into the implementation of highly cost-effective, large – maternal health promotion programs on a scale that consider equity and social justice. ”
The specific goal of the MCHP, said Pérez-Escamilla, “is actually to provide those who choose to undergo maternal and child health training with a systematic way that emphasizes the application of scientific principles for implementation in the providing evidence-based interventions and programs. And we know that the sooner we start in life, the more that can be done to prevent adverse outcomes and promote long-term health and human development. ”
The three required courses are Implementation Science (EMD 533), Health of Women and Children (HPM 542), and Maternal-Child Public Health Nutrition (SBS 594). Students are also required to participate in a summer internship. In addition, there are nine recommended electives; any of these students can choose to have more training in MCHP if they wish. The track is open to students from any of the six departments that MPH students are affiliated with.
Amber Hromi-Fiedler, Ph.D., MPH, the track’s coordinator, said that if a thesis is required by the student’s department, “we strongly encourage it to be an issue of maternal health promotion. For the internship, applied practical experience and thesis, if required, both Pérez-Escamilla and Spiegelman will also assist in guiding the specific promotion experience. ”
Please see the Maternal Child Health Promotion webpage for more information on the courses and academic requirements. For questions or to further discuss the MCHP journey, please contact Associate Director Amber Hromi-Fiedler.