The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has renewed a five-year grant for the Tulane Center of Excellence in Maternal and Child Health (CEMCH) at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, led by Dr. Carolyn Johnson. The award also includes supplemental funding for the Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology Doctoral Training program, led by Dr. Katherine Theall.
The HRSA grant will support faculty, staff, and students with the intent to improve the health status of the Maternal and Child Health (MCH) population, through expanding and strengthening the MCH workforce. The grant has been renewed for the fourth time and will total nearly $1.9 million over five years.
“I am extremely gratified that the past exemplary work of our center has been recognized and that this new funding will enable us to continue the leadership training with our MCH students,” says Director of Tulane Center of Excellence in Maternal and Child Health, Dr. Carolyn Johnson. “We are very grateful for this opportunity.”
The CEMCH helps strengthen and expand the Maternal and Child Health workforce by providing training and professional development to MCH master’s and doctoral students and by partnering with public health practitioners. The center’s staff work closely with MCH students through mentoring, academic, and practical learning opportunities. This helps students clarify and achieve career goals and prepare them for entering the workforce.
The MCH Epidemiology Doctoral Training program extends the training and support CEMCH by providing tuition support in addition to research and travel stipends to incoming doctoral students whose work focuses on MCH epidemiology. Training focuses specifically on social epidemiology and social determinants of health, setting it apart from other MCH epidemiology training programs. While in training, scholars work closely with MCH partners such as staff at Louisiana Department of Health’s Bureau of Family Health or the New Orleans City Health Department, or national organizations such as the National Birth Equity Collaborative. As such, the program is a win-win, providing students with practice-based experiences while simultaneously bolstering the analytic capacity of governmental and non-governmental partners. The overarching goal of the program is to prepare scholars to join the essential MCH workforce upon graduation, thereby enhancing the functional and research capacity of local, state, national, or international public health agencies to address the needs of the MCH population.
“We are thrilled to continue our doctoral training program and are grateful for the opportunity,” says Dr. Katherine Theall, Director of the Mary Amelia Women’s Center. “Given the intractable disparities in many MCH outcomes, the need to continue to move upstream and to focus on factors like social determinants and the fundamental causes that drive these disparities and inequities is essential. We are excited to play a role in developing an MCH workforce with this lens and the tools needed to address such causes.”