Maternal & Child Health

How to Apply

USF College of Public Health
Center of Excellence in Maternal and Child Health
Education, Science, and Practice
Application Guidelines for 2019-2020


The Center of Excellence in Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Education, Science and Practice, funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB), aims to assure 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 community programs view leadership as essential for promoting health and preventing disease.  The Center of Excellence in MCH offers an interdisciplinary and collaborative mentoring approach that is directed at understanding and practicing the values of health equity, cultural competence, and family centeredness.

While the Center of Excellence provides support for all MCH students and faculty, each year, a small cohort of master’s and doctoral students are selected as MCH scholars.  These scholars complete a special enhanced curriculum; have special training opportunities in conflict management, cultural competence and health equity, family professional partnerships, interdisciplinary practice, use of data for community needs assessment and program evaluation, and communication and health literacy and have the opportunity to meet monthly with local, state, and national MCH leaders. Scholars complete a mentorship with both a community mentor and an academic mentor; and work closely throughout the academic year on leadership and skill building projects.  


Students who are selected as scholars will receive full-time in-state tuition waivers for 3 semesters (9 credits in Fall 2019 and Spring 2020, and 6 credits in Summer 2020), a stipend to be divided over the 3-semester curriculum, travel support to attend conferences, and individualized community and academic mentoring.  Policies on course limitation and financial aid maximum allowances may vary, which can be discussed on an individual basis.

Students from across the College of Public Health, both newly admitted and current students, with an MCH focus are eligible to apply. The applicants can be from any concentration, as long as they have a strong focus on MCH. Because selection is highly based on MCH leadership experience and potential, second year or later year students more closely fit the criteria. However newly admitted students with significant prior MCH experience can apply. New students are strongly encouraged to present significant and relevant information about their prior MCH experience and potential for success. In accordance with the MCHB’s focus on developing MCH leaders from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds, individuals from minority and underrepresented groups are welcome and encouraged to apply.

Application Process and Submission

Application materials should be scanned and emailed by attachment to our Project Coordinator, Angela Makris, at no later than Friday April 12th, 2019.  Final candidates will be scheduled for an in-person or telephone interview after initial review of applications has been completed. Review of applications, interviews, and notification of awards will be made as soon as possible.  Students are encouraged to contact Angela Makris with specific questions regarding the application process or requirements.

Eligibility Requiements

Applicants for the Center of Excellence must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a United States citizen or permanent resident
  • Hold a baccalaureate degree or equivalent
  • Have and maintain at least a 3.0 GPA
  • Have applied or have been accepted as a master’s or doctoral student in the College of Public Health (final decision for pending students is dependent upon being accepted to the program).
  • Commit to being enrolled full-time in fall 2019 (9 credits), spring 2020 (9 credits) and summer 2020 (6 credits).
  • Demonstrate commitment to and clear focus in the area of MCH  

Program Requirements

Each MCH scholar will complete a specialized program of study.  The Center of Excellence requires a significant commitment of time and effort. Only under rare circumstance can scholar have an additional paid work commitment. MCHB considers this stipend to be a full time position.  Students cannot be MCH scholars and receive funds from an additional federal source.

In each semester of the program, scholars will focus on leadership and the life course model through multiple approaches.  By the end of the academic year, scholars will have a strong understanding of, and experience in, the core competencies of Maternal and Child Health.

To maintain the Center of Excellence award, scholars will be required to:

  •  Participate in full-day (6 hour) seminars on the following topics: conflict management, cultural competence and health equity, family-professional partnerships, interdisciplinary practice, use of data (for community needs assessment and program evaluation), and health literacy. 
  • Attend monthly leadership meetings with local, state, and national MCH leaders.
  • Participate in monthly research-to-practice seminars on various MCH-related topics.
  • Work with a community leadership mentor, who will be selected at the start of the academic year. Scholars will observe and be involved in their mentor’s leadership activities, and are expected to meet with their mentor at least every 3-4 weeks to discuss these activities.
  • Work with an academic leadership mentor, who will be selected at the start of the academic year.   Scholars are expected to meet with their academic mentor at least every 3-4 weeks to discuss research and academic activities in the context of leadership.
  • Assist their academic leadership mentor in writing a 2-page community-focused summary of the academic mentor’s recently published research most useful for practice.
  • Be enrolled full-time in coursework or thesis/dissertation credits each semester. Full time status is 9 credits each in fall and spring and 6 credits in summer.
  • Maintain a 3.0 GPA.

Application Requirements

Applications for current students should include the following:

  1. Completed application cover sheet (attached).
  2. Curriculum vita or resume.
  3. One copy of the student’s transcript (official or unofficial). NOTE: newly admitted students must submit undergraduate/ or graduate program transcript.
  4. One copy of the student’s current plan of study (PhD and DrPH students only).
  5. A letter of recommendation from the student’s faculty mentor or previous academic/work supervisor.
  6. Names and contact information for at least two additional professional references (these should not be friends or family)
  7. A two-page statement of interest, single-spaced.  The statement should focus on the student’s leadership qualities, experience, and interest in MCH, and specifically include:
    • previous MCH experience;
    • how the student has demonstrated leadership or potential for leadership;
    • how the student would benefit from the MCH scholar program;
    • the student’s future career goals in MCH and MCH leadership; and
    • how the student’s research interests are focused on an MCH topic (PhD, MSPH, and local DrPH students only)

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