Maternal and Child Health

About the Grant

Grant Overview

The Maternal and Child Health Center of Excellence is funded by a grant from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB), located in the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the Department of Health and Human Services.

The Goals of this Grant include:

  1. Provide interdisciplinary leadership training and practice to better integrate knowledge and skills needed to address multifaceted MCH problems.
  2. Recruit and support a diverse and culturally competent and family-centered MCH workforce that can work towards reducing health disparities.
  3. Provide quality training and practice through exposure to MCH competencies to assure a highly-trained MCH workforce.
  4. 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
  5. Develop, disseminate and translate knowledge to inform MCH training, research, policy and practice.

Planning Committee

The MCH Center of Excellence are guided by a planning committee consisting of faculty in the USF College of Public Health, as well as a family representative consultant.

Martha Coulter

Martha Coulter, PhD, MSW, MPH

Program Director
Professor, Community and Family Health
Director, Harrell Center for the Study of Family Violence

Dr. Coulter serves as Program Director of the Maternal and Child Health Center of Excellence. She is a Professor in the Department of Community and Family Health, College of Public Health at the University of South Florida, Coordinator of the Maternal and Child Health program, and Director of The Harrell Center for the Study of Family Violence.. Dr. Coulter's various community relationships combined with her national and international academic and professional accomplishments provide strong leadership for MCH Training. She is a certified family and dependency mediator and is considered an expert in family violence and its impact on children and families. She has an extensive publication record in the area of maternal and child health and family violence, and has taught various courses at the graduate level on maternal and child health at the College of Public Health.

Advice for graduate students on being leaders in MCH: Remember that being a leader in MCH means that you always understand that every policy, every regulation, every program procedure has a direct impact on many families. You need to understand clearly how to both be sure that what is offered has a strong base in evidence and that it has been well thought through from the perspective of the families and children being served. Keep in mind also that this is a great field, and one that can provide you with much joy as you watch your ideas be implemented and helping people.


Bill Sappenfield, MD, MPH 
Chair, Department of Community and Family Health
Director, Lawton & Rhea Chiles Center for Healthy Mothers and Babies

Dr. Sappenfield serves as the Chair of the Department and teaches on maternal and child health, epidemiology, and public health practice. His current research projects include: maternal and infant mortality, chronic diseases during pregnancy, assistive reproductive technology, unintended pregnancy and contraceptive use, non-medically indicated deliveries prior to 39 weeks, population-based perinatal quality improvement efforts, access to childhood preventive dental care, and use of data file linkages in maternal and child health.


Jamie Corvin, PhD
Assistant Professor, Departments of Global Health and Community and Family Health

Dr. Jaime Corvin is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Global Health and is joint faculty in the Department Community and Family Health. Trained in community and family health and social and behavioral sciences, Dr. Corvin's areas of research include global maternal and child health issues, global health disparities, disaster management, humanitarian assistance, organizational culture, and organizational collaboration.

Joane White

Joane White
Family Consultant

Joane White is a Family Support Worker for the Florida Department of Health Children's Medical Services Tampa office. Children’s Medical Services (CMS) is a collection of specialty programs for children with special health care needs. Services focus on helping children including prevention and early intervention services, primary care, medical and therapeutic specialty care, and long term care. Ms. White acts as liaison and advocate for families within the Children’s Medical Services Network. Her role is to assist families with access to and navigation of the systems of care and services available for their children, provide families with the tools and resources needed to facilitate communication with community health partners and medical providers involved in their child’s care and promote the development of the family’s ability in providing care for their child.

Her current projects include: Family Representative for the Hillsborough HATS Coalition, Family Representative for the Ethics Committee for Persons with Developmental Delays, Sunrise Communities, Inc.. and International Rett Syndrome Foundation Fundraising and Support Parent for Florida. Her advice for graduate students in MCH is to never lose sight of who you serve, keep an open mind, be flexible and willing to continue learning. Your personal and educational growth should never stop!

Ellen Daley

Ellen Daley, PhD
Professor, Community and Family Health

Dr. Daley's teaching and research interests are in women's health, reproductive health, sexually transmitted infections (specifically Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection), adolescents and health risk-taking behaviors. Dr. Daley is a Core Faculty Member of CRUSH, the Collaborative for Research in Understanding Sexual Health. In addition to her research interests, Dr. Daley teaches various graduate level courses in women's health, reproductive health population and community health, and directs an undergraduate course on women's health. Dr. Daley also serves as the Certificate Program Director for the Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate in Women's Health.

Russell Kirby

Russell Kirby, PhD, MS
Professor, Community and Family Health

Dr. Kirby serves as principal investigator on several contracts through the Florida Department of Public Health for birth defects surveillance and prevention, and also has a contract for a pilot project assessing the feasibility for a study of the association between perinatal ultrasound and autistic spectrum disorders.

Kathleen O'Rourke

Kathleen O'Rourke, PhD
Department Chair, Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Dr. Kathleen O’Rourke is a professor of epidemiology at the University of South Florida. Her specialization is in maternal-child health, with a particular interest in birth outcomes. She has conducted community-based research evaluating traditional birth attendant training in Guatemala, causes of perinatal mortality in Bolivia, and the effectiveness of a vitamin campaign for low income women living on the US/Mexico border. She has also served as an evaluator for adolescent pregnancy prevention programs and is currently the principal investigator for a study evaluating the impact of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on births among US military women. Dr. O’Rourke serves as the local lead investigator for the Hillsborough County and Orange County sites of the National Children’s Study, and also serves as a co investigator on the Baker County site.

Martha Coulter Cheryl Vamos, PhD, MPH
Research Assistant Professor

Dr. Vamos is a Research Assistant Professor and the Associate Director for the Center for Transdisciplinary Research in Women’s Health (CTR-WH). She is also a Core Faculty member of the Collaborative for Research Understanding Sexual Health (CRUSH). Current research, and research interests, involve exploring the following inter-related methods, themes and lines of inquiry: transdisciplinary approaches to improving women’s health; research on oral-systemic women’s health across the lifespan (i.e. oral health and pregnancy; oral health and chronic diseases); dissemination and implementation science (i.e. research focused on narrowing the divide between the translation of women’s oral-systemic research to practice); and team science. Past research has involved behavioral and psychosocial health issues in the areas of reproductive cancers, HPV in women and men, patterns of contraception use, chronic diseases in marginalized female populations, state- and county-level needs assessments of women’s health, and family planning policy.


Joane White

Abraham A. Salinas-Miranda, MD, MPH, PhD
Maternal and Child Health Associate Director

Dr. Salinas-Miranda is a clinician and researcher in Maternal and Child Health. His clinical credentials include an MD degree from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Nicaragua, Managua, Nicaragua in 2003, with residency training in Pediatrics. Dr. Salinas is a Certified Infant Toddler Developmental Specialist (ITDS) by the Florida Department of Health (2009). He obtained the Educational Commission of Foreign Medical Graduates Certificate in March 2016. His public health credentials include a Master of Public Health with Maternal and Child Health Concentration from the University of South Florida (Fulbright Scholar 2005-2007). He received his Ph.D. in Community and Family Health, from the University of South Florida in 2013. His dissertation tested a structural equation model of social determinants of perinatal health in the context of two county-wide Healthy Start programs. He holds a Graduate Certificate in Epidemiology from the University of South Florida (2010). In 2014, he became an inducted member to the Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health, and a Fully Elected Member of the American College of Epidemiologists (credential-based distinction). His publications have focused on multiple aspects of maternal-child health areas including community health, pre-conceptual care, care of the newborn, families, and the training of health providers. He serves as an evaluation team member in the Process Evaluation for Safe and Sound Hillsborough.

Ankita Patel

Ankita Patel, B.S. MPH Candidate

Program Assistant

Ankita Patel is the graduate research assistant for the Maternal and Child Health Training Grant. She is a graduate from the University of South Florida with her B.S. in Biomedical Sciences. Her main interests in public health are health education and reproductive health. She hopes that her time here at USF will further her discipline and ability to be the best public health professional that she can be.