University of Minnesota


Name of Program

University of Illinois at Chicago, Maternal and Child Health Program (UIC-MCHP)

Contact Information

Arden Handler, DrPH
University of Illinois at Chicago
1603 W. Taylor St. M/C 923
Chicago, IL 60612-7249
Phone: (312) 996-5954
FAX: (312) 996-3551

Mission of the Program

The Maternal and Child Health Program at UIC School of Public Health educates masters and doctoral students as well as members of the MCH public health workforce to support and promote the health and well-being of women, children, and families. The program emphasizes multi-level approaches to understanding the complex factors that affect population health and health disparities. An essential ingredient is the partnerships we have with public and private agencies serving the MCH population and the diverse communities where families live. The program is committed to scientific rigor, evidence-based public health practice, and the principles of participatory and collaborative research and practice.

Degree/Certificate Programs Offered

We offer three degrees in the field of Maternal and Child Health: MPH, MS, and PhD. Students are given the opportunity to pursue interdisciplinary programs including:

  • Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology
  • Global Health
  • Women’s Health
  • Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) (fellowship)

Collaborations and Partnerships

The UIC Maternal and Child Health Program has valuable relationships and collaborations with state and local public health departments, community organizations, MCH advocacy organizations, and academic research partners to meet the dynamic and emerging needs of the MCH workforce. Some examples of current partnerships include:

  • Dr. Rachel Caskey is on the City of Chicago’s HPV Prevention Advisory Committee and the Sexually Transmitted Infection Policy Advisory Group with the Chicago Department of Public Health and the Illinois Department of Public Health. She also works with the Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics on vaccine promotion efforts.
  • Dr. Joan Kennelly is a member of the Little Village Participatory Community Health Assessment, an action based community-academic partnership based in Little Village, a neighborhood on the west side of Chicago.
  • The UIC-SPH MCHP maintains a partnership with the IL LEND Program to provide leadership development for their faculty, staff, and family members. Dr. Kris Risley provides two, three-hour workshops each year to LEND trainees.
  • Dr. Nadine Peacock and Dr. Susan Altfeld are working with the Illinois subcommittee on SIDS and SUID as part of the Region V Collaborative Improvement & Innovation Network to Reduce Infant Mortality (CoIIN), developing messaging around safe sleep for the general public. They have also been consulting with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services’ Office of the Inspector General about the practice of “indicating” bed sharing parents for child abuse and neglect.
  • Dr. Arden Handler is co-chair of Illinois’ subcommittee on the Social Determinants of Health as part of the Region V Collaborative Improvement & Innovation Network to Reduce Infant Mortality (CoIIN). She is also a member of the US Secretary of Health’s Advisory Committee on Infant Mortality (SACIM).

Current Research

The UIC Maternal and Child Health Program faculty have a strong commitment to research that informs and improves public health best practices to better meet the needs of the MCH population. Some examples of current UIC MCHP research include:

  • Dr. Rachel Caskey is exploring barriers to preventive health care behaviors, including cervical cancer screening, HPV vaccine adoption, and contraception with partners from the School of Public Health, the Institute Health Research and Policy, and the College of Medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
  • An interdisciplinary team of MCH faculty, Dr. Handler, Dr. Rankin, Dr. Haider, and Dr. Caskey have multiple grants focused on increasing the utilization of the postpartum visit as well as on the use of novel systems interventions to increase the use of postpartum contraception, particularly LARC.
  • Dr. Peacock and Dr. Altfeld have an affiliation with the UIC Institute of Government and Public Policy to scan infant safe sleep campaigns in ethnically diverse U.S. Cities. They are assessing the extent to which these campaigns emphasize only the “ABC” message (Alone, on Back, in Crib), or a more comprehensive range of AAP recommendations (e.g., room sharing and breastfeeding); they are also collecting information about the evaluations of these campaigns and data on effectiveness.

Non-degree and Continuing Education Opportunities or Programs

  • The UIC-MCHP has a partnership with the University of North Carolina and a variety of other organizations including AMCHP to meet the needs of the State Title V workforce in the changing environment brought on by health reform through the MCH Workforce Development Center. Although we are involved in multiple Center activities, UIC’s main responsibilities are the Paired Practica Program with Howard University (part of the Pipeline core) and the delivery of a Leadership Development course to MCH graduate students across the Schools of Public Health MCH training programs.
  • Dr. Kristin Rankin and Dr. Deb Rosenberg provide annual on-site training for more than forty MCH epidemiologists from state, tribal and local health departments across the nation as part of the Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology Training Course.  This MCHB-funded training is focused on epidemiologic methods to support prioritization, needs assessment, and program evaluation.  They also conduct distance-based analytic capacity building with MCH Epidemiology senior assignees to state health departments and state-based teams made up of other analysts, program staff and administrators.  The focus of the current yearlong course is building data capacity to analyze claims-based data systems, such as hospital discharge data and Medicaid claims, to support the 2015 Needs Assessment and other MCH-related activities in participating states.