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Center of Excellence in MCH

Scholar and Fellow Programs

Fellow & Scholar Programs

Training and supporting graduate students and health professionals across the continuum through these programs:

  • Program Information

    These are two-year fellowships funded by the HRSA’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau federal grant, Strengthening the MCH Public Health Academic Pipeline, with particular foci on research pertaining to maternal/infant health, child/adolescent health, women’s health, sexual/reproductive health, family/community violence, and unintentional injury. There is specific interest in recruiting individuals from racially/ethnically diverse backgrounds in addition to other underrepresented minority backgrounds.

    Fellows will be mentored by matched research faculty and develop plans for professional growth. In addition, the postdoctoral fellows will have the opportunity to collaborate with MCH faculty and postdoctoral fellows in other MCHB-funded programs, as well as with Title V and other MCH organizations and partners locally, regionally, and nationwide. Postdoctoral MCH research fellows will also participate/lead classes and seminars. Support for professional conferences and other dissemination activities will be provided. Fellows will teach one or two graduate classes per year and be expected to further their research by developing grant proposals with faculty and publishing them in the peer-reviewed literature, in addition to collaborating with ongoing MCH faculty research.

    For all other questions specific to this program, you can contact Dr. Ellen Daley.

  • Purpose

    The purpose of the Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Epidemiology Traineeship is to promote the advancement of applied MCH research and evaluation. The MCH Epidemiology Doctoral Training program federal grant will support doctoral students who conduct state and/or local level analyses on MCH topics as the basis for their dissertation or doctoral project. The selected doctoral student will receive a stipend of $16,544 (divided in two semesters, no tuition waiver is provided), which is meant to support the student to gain skills that can be utilized in developing a leadership role in MCH epidemiology (especially at the state and local level) and improve the scholar’s capacity to evaluate, refine, augment, collect, and analyze both traditional and wellbeing measures of maternal and child health. Preference will be given to topics that illustrate the use of state or local data to plan state or local needs assessments, interventions, policies, or planning. Of particular interest are topics on disparities in maternal and child health and/or the assurance of the quality of healthcare for mothers, fathers, children, and adolescents. A key component of the award is to train a culturally sensitive and diverse MCH workforce committed to MCH Epidemiology. Trainees will receive specialized interdisciplinary dissertation support and will be given opportunities to collaborate with Title V and MCH agencies and will be required to pursue dissertation research with a focus on maternal and child health epidemiology.

    Program Requirements

    • Trainees should have completed most of their coursework, and either has a planned dissertation project with topic approval from their dissertation committee or be in the process of working on their dissertation.
    • Trainees must maintain a GPA of 3.0 and be in good academic standing while receiving the traineeship. Trainees will be terminated if they fail to meet scholastic standards (3.0 GPA).
    • Trainees are required to complete two self-assessments, at the conclusion of Fall and Spring semesters.
    • Trainees are strongly encouraged to attend and/or present findings from an epidemiology study at annual MCH Epidemiology Conferences. Only limited funds are available through this grant for these expenses. Trainees will need to cover the expenses through the stipend or apply for other funds, such as Sharp awards.
    • Trainees are required to include at least one MCH Epidemiology faculty member on their dissertation committee.
    • The trainee’s dissertation topic must be relevant to state and/or local MCH issues (using state and local agency data or federal data which can be used to examine state or local areas separately).
    • Applicant must be a full-time student for the duration of the traineeship, which is 1 academic year (i.e., enrolled 9 credits in the Fall, 9 credits in the Spring, and 6 credits in the Summer).
    • Applicant may not have concurrent funding from federal and other state sources while on the scholarship, as this position will be considered full-time.
    • Applicant will need to participate in the grantee annual conference with other trainees from other university programs. Travel support and expenses will be covered by the program.


    Applicants for the MCH Epidemiology Traineeship must meet the following requirements. Applicants must:

    • Be US citizens or permanent residents. This is required as our project is funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau/Title V block grant (training grant) through the USF Center of Excellence in Maternal and Child Health Education, Science, and Practice.
    • All doctoral students who are enrolled at the College of Public Health are eligible to be funded by this grant. Doctoral students from all concentrations are welcome to apply but their dissertation topic must be with maternal and child health focus using existing local or state level (Florida) datasets. A doctoral student is eligible as long as their dissertation topic relates to maternal and child health and also meets the other requirements listed here.
    • Have committee approval of their dissertation or doctoral project topic but a formal proposal defense does not yet need to have taken place.
    • Plan to use state or local data in their dissertation or doctoral project (students using federal data without state or local level information are not eligible).
    • Have a 3.0 GPA and be in good academic standing at the time of application.

    Application Materials

    Applications should include the following:

    • One copy of their current transcript (unofficial transcript is allowed).
    • One copy of their current plan of study (last approved version).
    • A three-page statement explaining: 1) why the student is applying for the award 2) how the student would benefit from the traineeship 3) how the student will use the traineeship to add to their academic program 4) what state or local dataset plan to use in their dissertation or doctoral project and 5) his/her career goals in MCH epidemiology.
    • A letter of recommendation from the student’s major professor or co-major professor.
    • Provide names and contact information for two references.

    Application Submission

    An announcement will be advertised annually for this program. For further questions or additional information, please contact the Center at

  • Purpose

    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 “provide didactic and experiential public health training in MCH that leads to masters and doctoral graduate degrees and which advances MCH workforce capacity.” Our mission is to produce an MCH workforce who will be change-ready leaders equipped with the necessary tools to address contemporary emerging MCH issues, promote healthier children, families, and communities, and address persistent disparities in MCH and healthcare across all systems.

    While the Center of Excellence in MCH activities across the education, science and practice pillars are available to and in collaboration with all students, faculty and health professionals/community members, a small cohort of master’s and doctoral students are selected as MCH scholars into a specialized program. These scholars complete an enhanced curriculum (including training opportunities in leadership, translational research, health literacy, conflict resolution, family-professional partnerships, and cultural competence and cultural diversity); and have the opportunity to meet monthly with local, state, and national MCH leaders. Furthermore, scholars are matched with a community mentor and an academic mentor, engage in peer mentorship, participate in research projects, and work closely throughout the academic year on leadership, professional development, and skill-building activities.


    Students who are selected as scholars will receive full-time in-state tuition waiver (18 credits) and a stipend (approximately $18,000) to be divided over the 2-semester program, travel support to attend conferences and meetings, and individualized community and academic mentoring. 

    Please note, the final stipend amounts may vary based on financial aid limits and existing account balances with the University. The scholarship funds are dispersed through USF Financial Aid. Your USF College of Public Health scholarship may impact your current financial aid award package. Please contact financial aid directly to learn how, if at all, you will be impacted.

    • Students from across all graduate degree programs and concentrations within the USF College of Public Health (MPH; MSPH; MHA; PhD; DrPH) with an MCH focus are eligible to apply. Because selection for this competitive scholar program is highly based on MCH leadership experience and potential, students in their second year (or greater) more closely fit the criteria. However, newly admitted students with significant prior MCH experience and future leadership potential can apply. 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

    Please read the application guidelines and submit application materials via the Qualtrics link no later than Wednesday, June 7, 2023 at 11:59pm.

    Final candidates will be scheduled for a virtual interview after initial review of applications has been completed. Review of applications, interviews, and notification of awards will be made as soon as possible (approximately one month). Students can contact the Project Coordinator ( with specific questions regarding the application process or requirements.

    Eligibility Requirements

    Applicants for the USF’s Center of Excellence Scholar Program must meet the following requirements:

    • Due to the nature of our funding mechanism, applicants must be United States citizens or permanent residents to be eligible. 
    • Hold a baccalaureate degree or equivalent.
    • Have and maintain at least a 3.0 GPA.
    • Have applied or 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 a COPH degree program).
    • Commit to being enrolled full-time (9 credits) in Fall and Spring.
    • 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 in MCH requires a significant commitment of time and effort, approximately 10-20 hours per week. Only under rare circumstance can a 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.

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

    • Be enrolled full-time in coursework or thesis/dissertation credits each semester. Full time status is 9 credits each in Fall and Spring semesters.
    • Be in good academic standing and maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
    • Create and maintain an Individualized Leadership Development Plan (LDP).
    • Complete the MCH Navigator Self-Assessment at the start and end of the program.
    • Attend, participate, and evaluate every activity of the Center of Excellence in MCH.
      Complete reflective discussions on Canvas.
    • Participate in workshops/training on the following topics: translational research, health literacy, negotiation and conflict resolution, cultural competence, and family-professional partnerships.
    • Participate in a leadership lab at the beginning of the program.
    • Participate in monthly leadership seminars with local, state, and national MCH leaders.
    • Participate in at least two activities delivered by the College of Public Health’s Activist Lab.
    • Participate in at least one of several interprofessional education and trainings.
    • Work with an academic-community research mentor, who will be selected at the start of the program. Scholars will be involved in their mentor’s applied research activities, including analytical skills, relationships with community partners, management of projects, and translation of research to practice. Scholars are expected to meet with their mentor (and research team members, as applicable) on an on-going basis.
    • Participate in Maternal and Child Health Student Organization (MCHSO) activities.
    • Participate in other professional development activities (e.g., Dean’s Lecture Series; USF Health Service Corps events; other webinars and skill building activities).

    Application Requirements 

    Application materials should be submitted via the Qualtrics link no later than Wednesday, June 7, 2023, at 11:59pm. Students can contact the Center of Excellence in MCH at with questions regarding the application process or requirements.

    Apply Now

    Students should submit the following through Qualtrics:

    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 letter of recommendation from the student’s faculty mentor or previous academic/work supervisor. NOTE: The person providing a recommendation may submit their letter directly to on behalf of the applicant.
    5. 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:
      1. Previous MCH experience.
      2. Why the student is applying for the scholarship and how the student would benefit from the MCH scholar program.
      3. How the student’s research/practice interests are focused on an MCH topic/population.
      4. How the student has demonstrated leadership or potential for leadership.
      5. Future career goals in MCH and MCH leadership.
      6. Commitment to the MCH field, including commitment to the collaborative goal of decreasing health disparities and achieving health equity.