MCH Student eNewsletter

September 2021

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Welcome from the Program Chair and Center Faculty Member, Dr. Zobeida Bonilla

As the Chair for Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Program, I am pleased that you are interested in the field of MCH, and what we have to offer at the University of Minnesota (UMN). We have strong historical underpinnings, as well as a vibrant present day program and set of activities focused on women, mothers, children, fathers and families. We are committed both to the training of new leaders for MCH through our current degree programs, as well as outreach to professionals in the community who are serving MCH populations.

We are proud to be involved with the MCH community working to promote the health and well-being of women, children, youth and families, including fathers and children with special health needs. We work with a superb group of faculty, students and MCH staff here within the Division of Epidemiology at the UMN, as well as with outstanding MCH professionals in the community–including MCH Program alumni. We welcome your interest and would be happy to receive questions and/or feedback about our MCH Program or this website.

-Read full welcome letter

Center Announcements

1. Welcome Briana!

Briana Wells is pursuing her MPH in MCH. In 2019, she graduated from Baylor University with her Bachelor of Science in Family and Consumer Sciences where she studied in their Child and Family Studies program with a concentration in Child Development. During her time at Baylor, she oversaw the transfer mentor program where she gained experience in public speaking, event planning, and mentor matching. In addition to working with the Transfer Offices, Briana worked as an education coordinator intern at a local pregnancy center. In this position she was designated with tasks such as teaching various maternal and child health topics, creating curriculum, and reviewing curriculum for accreditation. Briana is excited to attend the University of Minnesota and to work with the Center to expand her knowledge in the MCH field that she is so passionate about.

Briana is the new Center’s Student Liaison Research Assistant responsible for communicating with and building community among current, prospective and former MCH students through a variety of activities including organizing MCH Peer Program activities and helping to launch the MCH Skills Leadership Institute.

-Learn more about the Center's staff and faculty

2. Student Spotlight Feature: How did Alyssa Scott’s Deployment Help Address Minnesota’s Title V Key Priority Areas?

#UMNMCH student Alyssa Scott (MPH 2021) wrote this reflection on how her field experience and deployment with the Minnesota Department of Health’s (MDH) Title V Block Grant team have contributed to her experience in the MCH Program.

3. Dive into Research Video: How to Build A Strong Relationship With Your Advisor

Meeting your advisor for the first time can feel really scary, but it doesn't have to be! The Center’s Dr. Jamie Stang, and the SPH’s Dr. Melissa Laska, talked about how to create a strong relationship with YOUR advisor in a video made by the UMN MCH Student Interest Group (MCHIG). This video is part of a series called 'Diving Into Research' which aims to empower first year graduate students in gaining confidence to conduct research. Thanks to Delaine Anderson for spearheading this effort on behalf of the MCHIG!

4. Join the Maternal and Child Health National Network

The Maternal and Child Health National Network connects MCH students and graduates nationally. You can follow them on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter! If you have further questions, feel free to email them at 2nd year MCH student Delaine Anderson is very involved with this network. Please reach out to her with any questions.

5. National MCH Trainee Blog: Highlighting the Communication Competency (Competency #5)

The Center co-hosts a national MCH Trainee Blog with the MCH Catalyst Program at Albany.

This month's student blog post features Elikem Togo, who recently graduated from the MCHB-funded Drexel University’s Maternal and Child Health Public Health Catalyst program. Elikem reflects on the importance of developing MCH Communication Competency 5 through her virtual internship for the Title V MCH program with the Wisconsin Division of Public Health. Communication is the verbal, nonverbal, and written sharing of information. Elikem developed her health communication skills by collaborating with her team on their three main projects, through meetings, emails and phone calls.

Elikem reflected that, “Working from home has reminded me that establishing communication channels early on is imperative to the success of any project, and I carried this practice into my virtual classes in the fall. I look forward to applying the communication skills I learned in the internship to future virtual and in-person opportunities!”

-Read more about Elikem’s experience

-Learn more about the communication competency

MCH Events

The Center is proud to co-sponsor the following events:

6. Belly of the Beast Documentary Film Screening and Panel Discussion

Thursday, September 30-Thursday, October 7, 2021: Screening

Tuesday, October 5, 2021 | 7-8:30pm CDT: Panel Discussion

This free, weeklong virtual screening of the documentary Belly of the Beast culminates in a panel discussion on reproductive injustices and human rights violations within the carceral system. Panelists include film participant, lawyer, and advocate Cynthia Chandler; family trauma professional, doula, and peer, parenting and re-entry support professional, Autumn Mason; and former attending physician at the Cook County Jail (IL), Liz Feldman.

Organized by the UMN-Twin Cities Just Education Collaborative, the UMTC, and University of Illinois at Chicago Maternal and Child Health Student Interest Groups.

The screening for the full documentary will be available to registrants from September 30-October 7. The panel is scheduled for Tuesday, October 5 from 7-8:30pm CDT.

-To register

-For more info about the event

7. MCH Leaders Skills Institute: What is MCH?

Thursday, October 7, 2021 | 6-7:30pm CDT

During our first Institute workshop, guest speaker Dr. Sharon Milberger will share a new model for approaching the MCH Leadership Competencies. Open only to MCH and MCH nutrition students. Students who are funded by the Center are expected to attend as part of their paid positions. Save the date, and look for registration info soon!

8. Center Publications and News

*=UMN MCH Program Alumni

Bold=Center faculty, staff or student

MCH Competency Corner

9. MCH Competency 1: MCH Knowledge Base/Context

Each month, we highlight one MCH Leadership competency for MCH 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, the competencies help MCH students to gain skills including but not limited to: describing MCH populations and programs, using data to identify key MCH issues, evaluating evidence-based programs, describing health disparities, and more.

-Learn more about MCH competencies here



September 28, 2021 | 8am and 12pm CDT

For 41 years, WellShare International has advanced health equity by implementing community-derived health care solutions that are effective, sustainable, and affordable. They serve as a bridge between underserved populations and health care systems and have been a leader in providing culturally appropriate health education. The keynotes are Dr. Maykao Hang and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan.

-To register

11. Leading for Equity in MCH–Collaborations between practice and research to enhance the health of MCH populations

October 5, 2021 | 2pm CDT

Our sister center, the UNC Center of Excellence in Maternal and Child Health Education, Science and Practice, will be hosting a virtual leadership panel via Zoom. The three panel topics are: Enrich Carolinas and EMPower Best Practices, Improving Community Outcomes for MCH and Partnering to Improve Child and Family Well-being.

-To register

-View flyer with panelist info


12. Part-time Dietary Interviewer: SPH Division of Epidemiology and Community Health

The Nutrition Coordinating Center (NCC) is an interdisciplinary group of individuals including registered dietitians, database scientists, dietary interviewers, and a computer programmer. The Dietary Interviewer (5-14 hr/wk; $16.50/hr) will work with the NCC Service Center team which provides a variety of nutrient analysis and data collection services to support the needs of researchers. External and UMN candidates can access the UMN job board for this temp/casual position (job # 343169).

13. Trauma-informed Yoga

September 2021 | Dates and Times Vary

This free class will utilize research-based, trauma-informed yoga and mindfulness practices to address signs of secondary traumatic stress or nervous system dysregulation caused by stress or burnout. This class is taught by Sarah Crisafi, a child welfare professional, who found yoga as a way to understand and relieve her stress response. The first hour will be geared around learning, and the last hour is putting learning into practice (experiential learning through yoga). There are four options to choose from:

September 17 | 10am-12pm CDT (Floor Yoga with Chair Modifications)

September 20 | 10am-12pm CDT (Chair Yoga)

September 22 | 1-3pm CDT (Floor Yoga with Chair Modifications)

September 30 | 12-2pm CDT (Chair Yoga)

This event is part of September's Child Welfare Workforce Development Month. Visit the Workforce Development Month web page to learn more about the instructor and other events.

14. Apply for the 2022 Trainee Ambassador Group (TAG) Cohort!

Deadline: September 26, 2021

In 2015, the Division of Maternal and Child Health Workforce Development (DMCHWD), part of the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB), established an ongoing mechanism for working collaboratively with current and recent trainees of the MCH Training Program through the Trainee Ambassador Group (TAG). The TAG is a virtual student work group, designed to foster connections between students across MCH Training Programs and to strengthen the link between trainees and MCHB. The TAG is composed of 10 student representatives from DMCHWD’s graduate and undergraduate education programs. Ambassadors attend monthly virtual meetings and collaborate to develop trainee-focused products.

Students receiving funding (RAships, deployments, student technical support positions) from the Center may apply. Contact Sara at mch @ with questions.

MCH-Specific Resources

16. COVID Q&A with the UMN’s Campus Public Health Officer

Jakub Tolar, MD, PhD, Campus Public Health Officer shares some answers to from a discussion earlier in the summer (July 28, 2021).

-Learn more

17. Take care of your health

This UMN portal, created by behavioral health experts, offers personalized and actionable tips and tools for everything from your mental and physical health, to friendships and finding balance.

18. Social Media to Follow

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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