About the Center
Overview of the Training Program
The purpose of the USF Center of Excellence in MCH Education, Science, and Practice is “for the training of graduate and post-graduate public health professionals in an interdisciplinary MCH setting to prepare future MCH public health professionals achieve optimal MCH outcomes and to advance MCH science, research, practice and policy.” The vision of the Program is that “all children and families will live and thrive in healthy communities served by a quality workforce that helps assure their health and well-being.”
Both MCH academic and continuing education programs view leadership as essential for promoting health and preventing disease. The Center of Excellence in MCH offers a training approach that is interdisciplinary and collaborative, and that is directed at understanding and practicing the values of health equity, cultural competence, and family centeredness.
The mission of the Center of Excellence in MCH is to:
- Provide interdisciplinary leadership training and practice to better integrate knowledge and skills needed to address multifaceted MCH problems.
- Recruit and support a diverse and culturally competent and family-centered MCH workforce that can work towards reducing health disparities.
- Provide quality training and practice through exposure to MCH competencies to assure a highly-trained MCH workforce.
- Increase the capacity of the MCH workforce through collaboration with Title V agencies and partnerships with other local, state, regional, national and international MCH stakeholders to enhance MCH training and practice
- Develop, disseminate and translate knowledge to inform MCH training, research, policy and practice.
- The University of South Florida Maternal and Child Health Training Program focuses on three main areas:
- Training of all MCH Students: Assure that all MCH academic classes focus on the MCH concepts of cultural competence, family-centered care, and interdisciplinary practice within the context of the lifecourse model; and encourage all MCH-related field placement sites to become more culturally competent and family-centered.
- Continuing Education Programs: Development and delivery of continuing education programs locally and throughout the state and southeast region, in collaboration with the University of Alabama-Birmingham and Tulane University.
- MCH Student Leadership Trainees: Identification of and specialized curriculum and activities for selected doctoral and master’s students, including establishing mentoring relationships for each trainee with a leadership mentor in the community and on the public health faculty.
The Center of Excellence in MCH Program also seeks to improve the training of public health professionals in MCH through enhanced exposure to the schools of public health competencies. These competencies include:
- Demonstrating the attainment of MCH leadership competencies
- Incorporating the public health principles of health promotion/disease prevention into professional activities
- Demonstrating understanding of public and private systems of care
- Demonstrating administrative management and strategic planning
- Participating in advocacy and legislative processes
- Applying principles of coordinated, family-centered care to practice
- Applying principles of culturally competent care to practice
- Establishing and maintaining community-based linkages
- Applying interdisciplinary team skills
- Demonstrating effective education and communication skills
- Utilizing information resources and technology
The University of South Florida Maternal and Child Health Training Program focuses on three main areas:
- Training of all MCH Students: Assure that all MCH academic classes focus on the MCH concepts of cultural competence, family-centered care, and interdisciplinary practice; and encourage all MCH-related field placement sites to become more culturally competent and family-centered.
- Continuing Education Programs: Development and delivery of continuing education programs locally and throughout the state.
- MCH Student Leadership Scholars: Identification of and specialized curriculum and activities for selected doctoral and master’s students.
Non-degree Training Opportunities & Continuing Education:
The MCH Training Program at USF offers recurring, full-day seminars in cultural competence, family-centered care, and interdisciplinary practice. These seminars are led by training program faculty and experts in the field, and are available to students, faculty, staff, and the wider community. All seminars are archived on our webpage and available for use. We are in the process of developing a similar seminar on the life course model, which will be offered for the first time in the fall of 2012.
As part of the curriculum for the student leadership trainees, we provide shorter monthly seminars focused on issues in leadership. Topics include overall MCH leadership, leadership at the federal level, working with state government, and developing personal leadership styles. These will be developed into half-day seminars in the coming semesters.
Examples of Current Research
College of Public Health Cultural Competence and Diversity Study
This study, led by Drs. Coulter and Estefan, assists the College of Public Health to understand the cultures and needs of students, faculty, staff, and administration. The goal is to learn how to best meet those needs, and retain and support students and employees from diverse backgrounds. An online survey was sent to all public health graduate and undergraduate students to explore their perception of the college’s attention to various types of diversity (e.g., culture, disability, and sexual orientation). While 53% of students felt that cultural diversity was addressed ‘quite a bit’ or ‘very much’ in courses, only 27% felt the same about disabilities and 35% about other types of diversity. We are now conducting more in-depth interviews with students, faculty, and staff. These interviews will help us learn more about the attitudes and perceptions, and investigate appropriate supports for individuals from diverse backgrounds.
Center for Transdisciplinary Research in Women’s Health
The Center for Transdisciplinary Research in Women’s Health (Co-Directors: Drs. Ellen Daley and Rita DeBate; Associate Director: Dr. Cheryl Vamos), an innovative multidisciplinary academic and community partnership, is committed to bridging the gap between and among professional disciplines to create a new paradigm for women’s health. This new paradigm will cross the divide between current discipline-specific women’s health research, practice and policies. Current and future research projects focus on the behavioral, oral-systemic and physical aspects of women’s health.
Senior Surfers and Social Media
Little is currently known about intimate partner violence (IPV) among older adults who are dating and the risks associated with using the internet to seek relationships among this population. Dr. Carla VandeWeerd and her team explore online relationship seeking among older women. The study is designed to (1) capture the types of information older women are providing in their social networking profile and how the information shared may put them at risk online, and (2) understand what online dating is like from a personal perspective by interviewing older women who use the internet to seek relationships. In doing so, we hope to create a picture of online dating among older women to identify online dating risk and protective factors for IPV and elder abuse.
Examples of Partnerships & Collaborations
We are collaborating with the MCH Training Programs at the University of Alabama-Birmingham and Tulane University for the provision of continuing education to the MCH workforce in the Southeast region. These activities are in the process of being implemented, and consist of both web-based and in-person trainings.
We are collaborating with the federally-qualified health centers in Hillsborough County, Florida. These centers have assumed responsibility for providing services to the MCH population in our area. We provide continuing education trainings to their workforce around MCH issues of interest to them and their communities.
Training grant faculty often collaborate with local MCH-related agencies on a variety of topics. For example, one of our faculty has assisted a local agency to examine and map their service usage data in order to understand the change over time in where clients live, and assisted them in developing a logic model for two of their prominent programs.
In addition to focusing their academic studies in MCH, Scholars will be required to take part in a specialized curriculum.
The overarching theme of the MCH traineeship is increasing leadership in maternal and child health. To be a leader in Maternal and Child Health requires specific knowledge, skills, personal characteristics and values.
Within the leadership development framework and the overall focus of the MCH Training Program, the MCH Traineeship will focus on three main content areas:
- Cultural Competency
- Family-Centered Care
- Interdisciplinary Practice
In each semester of the program, Scholars will focus on these areas through multiple approaches. These approaches include attendance at monthly research-to-practice seminars, full-day conferences on each of the focus areas listed above, and involvement in seminars on leadership.
By the end of the Traineeship, Scholars will have a strong understanding of, and experience in, these core areas of Maternal and Child Health. Additionally, each Trainee will be involved in an individualized plan, including an assignment with both a Community Mentor and a Faculty Mentor.