Maternal & Child Health


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:

  • 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.

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.

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

Dr. Coulter serves as Director of USF's MCH Center of Excellence in Education, Practice, and Science. 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 concentration, and Director of The Harrell Center for the Study of Family Violence. She has served as an MCH leader at the State Board of Health in North Carolina and as Deputy Director of Health in the Florida Department of Health. 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 variety of courses at the graduate level on both MCH and Violence at the College of Public Health.

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.

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.

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!

Professor, Department of Community and Family Health
Associate Dean, Translational Research and Practice

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, Department of 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, Ph.D.

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.

Cheryl A. Vamos

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.


Abraham Salinas-Miranda

Abraham A. Salinas-Miranda, MD, MPH, PhD

Center Of Excellence in Maternal and Child Health Associate Director

Dr. Salinas-Miranda is a clinician and public health professional with advanced studies in maternal and child health. His clinical credentials include an MD degree from Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Nicaragua, Managua (Nicaragua, 2003), with partial residency training in Pediatrics/Pediatric Surgery (2004-2005). His international medical graduate education was certified by the Educational Commission of Foreign Medical Graduates in March 2016. Salinas' clinical passion is child development. He is a certified Infant Toddler Developmental Specialist (ITDS) by the Florida Department of Health (2009), with more than 4 years of experience with early intervention programs in Tampa Bay.

His public health credentials include a Master of Public Health with Maternal and Child Health Concentration from the University of South Florida (Fulbright Scholar Award 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) and has significant research experience with MCH Epidemiology research projects (Research Associate, Dept. Epidemiology and Biostatistics, USF 2010-2013). After his PhD, he conducted one year of community-based participatory research with MCH populations (partnership with Federal Healthy Start/REACH Inc).

In 2014, he became a Fully Elected Member of the American College of Epidemiologists (credential-based distinction) and an inducted member to the Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health. Currently, he continues to apply both quantitative and qualitative research methods and embraces the life course perspective in his studies. He also continues to be involved in public health practice by providing technical assistance to MCH Title V and other MCH-related programs locally, regionally, and nationally. His research studies and publications have focused on multiple aspects of community and family health (maternal-child health focus) including adverse childhood experiences, community-based participatory research, racial/disparities in maternal and child health, family centered care, pre-conceptual care, care of the newborn, the training of medical and public health providers, and youth violence prevention.

Program Coordinator

Ankita Patel is the program coordinator for the Center of Excellence in MCH Education, Practice, and Science. She is a graduate from the University of South Florida with her B.S. in Biomedical Sciences and MPH in Maternal Child Health. 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.