MCH Student eNewsletter

September 2020

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Welcome From The MCH Program Chair

Hello MCH-ers!

So great to have everyone here for the semester! Welcome again!

For those who don’t know me, I am an anthropologist by training and have spent the past 20 years studying the complex genetic, familial, and nutritional relationships that shape how children grow, develop, and achieve optimal health, with a particular focus on maternal infant nutrition. This broad research interest is probably why I teach such disparate classes: in the MCH MPH Program, I teach Child Health (PubH 6606), while in the Epidemiology MPH Program I teach Genetics in Public Health (PubH 6381) and in the Public Health Nutrition MPH Program I teach Nutritional Assessment (PubH 6915). My current major research projects examine the epigenetics of obesity and biological aging, and the role of maternal nutritional status in altering breast milk composition and lactation success.

I have a few recommendations for academic success:

  • Please come prepared to discuss and engage in your synchronous and asynchronous classes. Try to keep your video unmuted if possible and be extra engaged during breakout sessions and group discussions...this will make your Zoom classes more fun and zip by.

  • Please do meet with your academic advisor and if you aren’t feeling like they are helping you, let me know! They are the best people to help you decide which path to go for your Integrated Learning Experience and can give you names of other people they know who are interested in your areas

  • Take the time to prepare for your Applied Practice Experience by querying the SPH searchable Field Experience database a few months in advance of the term you wish to start.

  • Talk to the EpiCH academic student services group (especially Shelley and Marlin) often, for answers to all of your questions on courses and meeting the requirements of the degree

  • Visit the SPH Career Services office once in your first year, and once in your second year

  • Focus less on grades in courses and more on choosing courses that expand your MCH skills and on getting immersed in ideas with your fellow students, mentors, and co-workers.

  • Sit outside and enjoy the sun and some socially distanced gatherings before it gets too cold to do it!

I hope that answers some of your questions about who I am and how I can best help you. Feel free to reach out to me with any questions about my research, courses, and/or experiences. I look forward to another successful year with you in the MCH Program!

-Ellen Demerath

-Read her full welcome letter

Center Announcements

The Maternal and Child Health Interest Group (MCHIG) is Looking for Executive Board Members!

The MCHIG is looking for applicants to fill three Executive Board positions: marketing, recruiting, and events! If you are looking for a way to get involved, interested in discussing MCH topics, and giving back to the local community, consider applying! Please complete your application by Monday, September 14, 2020.

If you are interested in joining the student group, but not applying for an executive board position, please email

Student Spotlight: How did Lexie Adams and Morgan Collins use Quantitative and Qualitative Data to Learn about the Needs of Hennepin County Residents?

Click here to read about Lexie and Morgan’s experience using data from surveys and interviews to inform the Hennepin County Public Health team and how they navigated working through COVID-19.

Student Spotlight: How Did Madigan Knuth Apply Her MCH Knowledge in Providing Community Recommendations for Title V Grant Priorities?

Learn more about how Madigan conducted needs assessments on child and family health concerns for Minnesotans.

Beyond the ER: The Road to LGBTQ+ Health Equity

MCH student Olivia Sullivan’s article was featured in The Gender Policy Report. This piece focuses on LGBTQ+ health inequities, emergency medicine, and creating more inclusive health policy. Congratulations, Olivia!

-Read here

New MCH Research Page

The Center website has a new Research webpage! Thanks to Center RA, Emily Reimer, for her hard work creating this page. Check out this page to learn more about the research being conducted by our MCH faculty and students. Stay tuned for ongoing additions to this page, especially around MCH students’ research. Have research you’d like shared here? Email

Recognize an MCH Student

Do you know a student who is doing amazing MCH research? What about a student who is leading others academically? Our MCH students are doing amazing work, and we want to make sure it’s being recognized and awarded! Nominate yourself or a peer to be recognized in our monthly newsletters for accomplishments and contributions to the MCH field by emailing us at

New MCH National Blog Posts!

The MCH National Trainee Blog is a student-led national blog dedicated to sharing students’ research and community engagement experiences. Check out these recent blog posts!

Never want to miss a new post again? Use this form and sign-up for the blog’s email updates.

-Competency 8: Family and Professional Partnerships (featuring UMN MCH graduate and former Center RA, Abhi Ramesh!)

-Read the latest blog post on Competency 12: Policy

MCH Events

WellShare International Bridge to Health 2020

Tuesday, September 22, 2020 | 8:30 AM - 6:30 PM CST


Dr. Michael Osterholm, and UMN SPH professor, is the featured speaker for this year’s event, which is co-hosted by the Center.

-Register here

MCH Policy and Advocacy Guest Lecture

Monday, November 9, 2020 | 10:10 AM - noon PM CST


Amy Haddad is the Director of Public Policy and Government Affairs and will be lecturing about the Association of Maternal & Child Health Program’s work to advocate for Title V appropriations and AMCHP’s policy priorities. This lecture is a part of Professor Zobeida Bonilla’s PUBH 6603 class period. Please stay tuned for more details or contact her with questions at

Program Corner

MCH Faculty Rachel Hardeman Featured in UMN News for Research

A study co-authored by SPH Associate Professor Rachel Hardeman found that Black babies die less often when they are cared for by Black doctors. “As we seek to close persistent racial gaps in birth outcomes, this finding is incredibly important.”

-To read the UMN press release

-To access the full article

MCH Competency Corner

MCH Competency 1: MCH Knowledge Base / Context

Each month, we highlight one MCH Leadership competency for our students to learn more about. This month’s competency focuses on general MCH knowledge of prevention, life course theory, cultural competence, health equity, and more. At a foundational level, MCH students will gain skills including but not limited to: describing MCH populations and programs, use data to identify key MCH issues, evaluate evidence-based programs, describe health disparities, and more.

-Learn more about MCH competencies here


Rapid Response Grants Program 2020

The Global Programs and Strategy Alliance (GPS Alliance) is pleased to announce, as part of its systemwide initiative focused on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a new rapid response grant competition. Grants will support current faculty, academic staff, and graduate students to use the SDGs as a framework to help address the many challenges that are arising locally and globally.

Current masters and doctoral degree students, faculty, and academic staff from academic units throughout the UMN system are eligible. Grant proposals should clearly demonstrate how the project will both advance known needs in our communities both locally and globally, and also how it will contribute to at least one SDG either locally or globally including, if possible, linking to specific SDG targets and indicators.

-Learn more


National Prenatal-to-3 Research to Policy Summit

Tuesday, September 15, 2020 | 11:00 AM - 2:00 PM CST


This year’s theme is: Building a State Policy Roadmap to Strengthen the Earliest Years. The Prenatal-to-3 Policy Impact Center identified the most impactful state-level policies that bring to life the science of childhood development. Summit registrants will receive direct links to downloadable Roadmap and state data profiles for all 50 states and D.C.

-Register here

Refusing to ‘Go Back to Normal’

Wednesday, September 16, 2020 | 1:00 PM - 2:15 PM CST


The UMN Human Rights Lab and the UMN Center for Global Health and Social Responsibility are hosting this webinar to address racial inequities in health outcomes. SPH Assistant Professor Rachel Hardeman will be an expert featured in the webinar.



Student Wellbeing Guide

The Center for Spirituality and Healing has created an SPH Student Wellbeing Guide, dedicated to help students focus on their wellbeing as they start the new semester. This 36 page comprehensive guide covers topics including healthy sleep and eating, developing relationships, mindfulness for racial justice, dealing with anxiety, and more.


National Suicide Prevention Month

September is National Suicide Prevention Month. This month is used to reach out to those affected by suicide, raise awareness, and connect individuals with suicidal ideation to treatment services. It is also important to ensure that individuals, friends, and families have access to the resources they need to discuss suicide prevention. The suicide prevention hotline number is 800-273-8255.

-Learn about the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

The aims of the Center include providing continuing professional education in maternal and child health (MCH) and support for students in online and in-person MCH graduate programs at the University of Minnesota. Center and MCH Program faculty are involved in research and training in infant and child health, adolescent health, family health, health disparities, reproductive health, and women's health.

The Center for Leadership Education in Maternal and Child Public Health is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number T76MC00005 for Leadership Education in Maternal and Child Public Health in the amount of $1,725,000. This information or content and conclusions of our outreach products are those of the authors and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.

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Copyright © 2020 The Center for Leadership Education in Maternal & Child Public Health - University of Minnesota.
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