Harvard School of Public Health


Name of Program:

Interdisciplinary Concentration in MCH/Children, Youth and Families Harvard School of Public Health

Contact Information

Director: Marie C. McCormick MD, ScD
Department of Society
Human Development and Health
Harvard School of Public Health
677 Huntington Ave. Boston, MA 02115
Senior Administrator:  Trish Lavoie (tlavoie@hs[h.harvard.edu)
Assistant Administrator:  Caroline Huntington (chunting@nullhsph.harvard.edu);
Tel. 617-432-3759


Mission of the Program

The goal of the program is to improve the health of children and their families through educating leaders in MCH from a diversity of populations and professionals in masters and doctoral programs, and in ongoing educational and technical assistance activities, and through the creation and translation of new knowledge in the content and practice of maternal and child health. The concentration in MCH is school-wide and consists of an organized body of coursework that leads to a certificate at graduation over and above the degree program.

Degrees and Certificates Offered

  • Doctor of Philosophy (anticipated to begin in 2016): Departmentally based doctoral programs for those wishing to assume leadership roles in academia or other areas of public health through a research focus
  • Doctor of Public Health: a doctoral program designed to train leaders of governmental and other agencies through intensive leadership and practical training.
  • Masters of Science (one-year, MS1): restricted to those with a prior master’s or higher degree who wish education in research methods and policy for research careers in public and private agencies.  Not available in all departments.
  • Masters of Public Health: a school-wide program divided into several fields of study: Clinical Effectiveness, Environmental and Occupational Health, Global Health, Health and Social Behavior, Health Management, Health Policy, and Quantitative Methods
    • MPH45: One year program for those with at least a prior master’s degree to provide a broad training in the concepts and methods of public health.
    • MPH65: 18-month program for those with a prior bachelor’s degree and 2-3 years’ work experience for the first professional degree in public health.
  • MS Dual Degree Program in Nursing:  In collaboration with Simmons Graduate School of Nursing and Health Sciences, students complete a two-year program to obtain an MS in Society, Human and Development and Health and an MS in nursing. (will be become a dual MPH/MSN degree)
  • Collaboration in Social Work:  MCH/CYF has a collaboration with the Simmons Graduate School of Social Work with arrangements depending on the type of public health degree desired.

Non-degree and Continuing Education

  • Annual Symposium.  The program sponsors an annual symposium dealing with issues of importance to MCH practitioners and investigators.  The most recent was in conjunction with the Reproductive, Perinatal, Pediatric Epidemiology Training Program.  Allen Willcox was the keynote speaker.  All symposia will be available on the website.
  • Weekly Seminars.  The concentration also conducts a weekly seminar series during the school year featuring research, the experiences of those in the field and student presentations.  The schedule is available on the web page.


  • Outcomes of low-risk pregnancies.  By definition, low-risk pregnancies are the most common type of delivery, and should not result in adverse events.  Research in this area has highlighted the potential for perinatal interventions to increase adverse outcomes in the neonates, in particular the fever associated with epidural anesthesia.
  • Outcomes of high-risk neonates, especially very premature infants.  The United States continues to have higher rates of premature delivery than most developed countries, and, as a result of the effectiveness of neonatal intensive care, these infants survive.  Defining their health problems and the risk factors leading to these outcomes, not all of which reflect prematurity, provides important information for the design of the programs for these neonates.
  • Evaluation of early intervention for low birth weight, premature infants.  One such intervention is early educational intervention to improve cognition and behavior.  Data from our longitudinal study now demonstrate that a program in the first three years of life may have long-lasting effects up to 18 years of age for some of these infants.


  • STRIPED (Strategic Training Initiative for the Prevention of Eating Disorders). The members of the concentration collaborated with faculty in the LEAH program to develop an educational approach to eating disorders.  Although the prevalence of clinical eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa, is very low, less severe disordered eating behaviors are frequent affecting up to 5% of adolescents, and these behaviors are intertwined with the issues of obesity and weight reduction.  We worked with the faculty to identify funding, an educational approach and support of students to begin to develop a public health approach to disordered eating that goes beyond clinical management.
  • Annual Report on Access, Utilization and Expenditures for Children and Youth in the United States.  In a partnership with the journal of the Academic Pediatric Society and the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality, the faculty produce an annual published report summarizing trends in various aspects of health care use for children and youth in the US for policy makers, researchers and practitioners using data from the Medical Expenditures Panel Survey and the Healthcare Utilization Project.
  • Children’s Hospital Boston.  The concentration sponsors a practicum scholarship program in conjunction with the Program for Patient Safety and Quality to work with clinicians and administrators to conduct quality improvement activities in the hospital and its affiliated neighborhood health center.  The program was piloted last year, and expanded this year to include community based organizations interested in quality.
  • Division of Reproductive Health at CDC.  The concentration supports an intensive didactic and field experience to train students in program evaluation for Title V programs with a field experience of developing a program evaluation with MCH state professionals.
  • MCH Data Connect.  Often MCH researchers and practitioners need access to data to prepare needs assessments or to analyze new issues.  Students and faculty in the concentration have developed a comprehensive catalog of data sources with descriptions of the functionality (table or graph preparation, ease of access of data, ease of manipulation) and access to facilitate access to relevant data sets, especially public use data sets.  This has been primarily a student driven project with collaboration from technical specialists at the university and elsewhere.  The site is now available to all on our web page  and is currently being upgraded.