2011 MCH/CYF Newsletter

Welcome to the first edition of the MCH/Children, Youth and Families Newsletter!


I hope you are enjoying the first few weeks of fall.  We have already begun a busy year with our annual welcome party in September.  Remember, alumni are always welcome.

As part of every year, we compile a great deal of information for the progress report on our training grant.  This year, we thought that we would share this information and other items to keep current and past MCHers and our collaborators informed of the activities of the program, its students and its graduates.


MCH Training Program

For those of you who have not yet had a chance to visit our web site: we are an interdepartmental concentration, based in the Department of Society, Human Development and Health participating with Departments of Epidemiology, Global Health and Population, Nutrition.  We are supported by two training grants and an endowed fund, the Martha May Eliot Fund.  We have strong ties with Simmons College in nursing and social work.  Please see our web page for more details: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/mch-cyf-concentration/index.html

MCH was strong with 51 students enrolled in the concentration last year, and many of their biographical sketches are available (http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/mch-cyf-concentration/students/student-biographies/index.html), as well as a list of the field experiences and doctoral theses. This current year we are looking forward to even more participants.  We graduate about 20 new MCH professionals a year.  We were successful in the most recent competing renewal of the main training grant, MC00001, the first ever awarded!  Wonderfully, we are now in our 56th year of this grant.



Ongoing resources for MCH professionals supported by the training grant include:


MCH/CYF Symposium.  We celebrated the 75th anniversary of Title V with our symposium on education in MCH with the other training programs on campus: Leadership in Adolescent Health, Leadership in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities, and Behavioral Pediatrics.  The symposium can be seen at http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/mch-cyf-concentration/mch-symposium/. This coming year, we are planning a symposium in conjunction with the training program in reproductive, perinatal and pediatric epidemiology in the Department of Epidemiology for Jan. 19, 2012.


MCH Data Connect.  We continue to support this resource for those seeking data on MCH programs and populations. MCH Data Connect is a searchable annotated catalog of MCH data sets and comments on their accessibility for MCH students, investigators and practitioners.  We now have over 130 data sets listed, ably maintained by one of our students, Leslie McFarland. http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/mch-cyf-concentration/mch-data-connect/ 

Faculty Activities

            Changes in the faculty include two new members:

Unfortunately, we have lost Dr. Jay Silverman to San Diego.  We wish him well in his new position.

            Besides their teaching, the faculty are actively engaged in a variety of technical assistance and consulting activities.  For example, Dr. Bryn Austin was also the co-chair of an international conference on eating disorders.  Dr. Theresa Betancourt continues to be involved in several local and national activities on child refugee mental health, and children in armed conflict.  Dr. Beth Molar actively assists the Mayor’s office on Boston Centers for Youth and Families.  She and Dr. Barbara Gottlieb are active in the Boston Public Health Commission.  Dr. Marie McCormick is wrapping up an intense experience on the National Vaccine Advisory Committee for which she chaired or co-chaired two working groups, and completed her role as a member of the Committee on Pediatric Health and Health Care Quality Measures for the Institute of Medicine.  Dr. Rima Rudd is working with colleagues in Maryland, Missouri, as well as in England, Italy, and Spain to increase health literacy activities and research.  Finally, one of our faculty Dr. Judy Palfrey will be on leave next year to lead the First Lady’s campaign against obesity.

And, of course we publish.  Please see http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/mch-cyf-concentration/publications/ for a more complete list.



            Our students, at all levels, are equally active, while maintaining excellent scholastic records.  As mentioned above, they shepherd MCH Data Connect, organize the symposia, and assist teaching in our main courses.  They perform a wide array of community activities throughout the Boston area and beyond (http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/mch-cyf-concentration/collaborations/).  Our doctoral students are making major contributions to the new knowledge needed for effective MCH services (http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/mch-cyf-concentration/students/doctoral-thesis-titles/index.html). And, as you can see from their biographical sketches, they come from a broad array of backgrounds and disciplines



Congratulations to our faculty whose work has been recognized:

  • Dr. Barbara (Bobbie) Gottlieb was presented with the Excellence in Teaching Award from the Harvard Medical School Center of Primary Care
  • Dr. S. Bryn Austin received the Roger L. Nichols Excellence in Teaching Award from the Harvard School of Public Health.

Congratulations to our students, as well.  This year at the American Public Health Association meeting in Washington, we will support two student fellows to the Maternal and Child Section, Olatokunbo Famakinwa (an MD/MPH student) and Alison El Ayadi, a doctoral student.  Two students will be presenting.  Kate Falb will be presenting on “Early life traumatic stressors and the mediating role of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in incident HIV infection among 13,276 men, comparisons by sexual orientation and race/ethnicity: results from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions.”  She and Heather McCauley collaborated on a presentation on “Developmental differences in depression by sexual orientation in a sample of 2,555 high school students: results from the 2007 Massachusetts Youth Risk Behavior Survey”.




            Also, as part of the annual progress report, we contact past students to ascertain what they are doing.  We have highlighted four of our graduates to indicate the range of activities of MCH graduates. Please see http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/mch-cyf-concentration/newsletter/alumni-stories/index.html for extended information on our alumni.  They are:

  • Dr. Grace Chi (MS2, 2002), is now completing her pediatric residency.  After finishing her masters, she was an administrator for the Community Pediatrics Residency Training Program at Children’s Hospital of Boston and participated in the year-long program at the local LEND (Leadership in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities) program.  She then realized her dream to go to medical school to foster a career in community pediatrics.
  • Dr. Michael Rich (MPH, 1997), a pediatrician who specializes in adolescent medicine and who has parlayed an earlier career in the movie industry into a strong focus on the media, its effects on health, and its potential as a research tool.
  • Alison Morse (MS/MSN, 2002) completed the joint program in public health and nursing with Simmons College.  She now works in women’s health and developed a multi-institution service for patients with gynecologic cancer, for which she won the 2009 Nurse Practitioner of the Year Award in Massachusetts from the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.
  • Dr. Lydia Schrier (MPH, 1997) also is a pediatrician and specialist in adolescent medicine who focuses on the association between mental health and risky behavior.  One of her projects led to a national program of interventions to foster safer sex, and she is now exploring the use of electronic devices in this work.


New Initiatives


Expansion of Evaluation Experience with CDC.  With the leadership of a faculty member, Dr. Mary Jean Brown (http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/faculty/mary-jean-brown/) HSPH students have had the opportunity for an intensive didactic session on program evaluation followed by a two-week field experience in designing an evaluation for a state lead-poisoning prevention programs. This year we expanded to include the Division of Reproductive Health at CDC with two students evaluating the post-neonatal mortality reduction program in New Orleans.


Funded field experiences.  Based on a successful pilot last year, we plan to offer up to ten funded field experiences for our masters students to work with local agencies.  Some of these projects with be with faculty at Children’s Hospital on quality improvement activities, with Children’s matching our support.  For a full list of the field experiences of students, please go (http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/mch-cyf-concentration/students/recent-mchcyf-practicums/index.html).


TranstiPed.  The training grant was able to support two students to work with Dr. Bryn Austin to develop a public health approach to eating disorders, which, in fact, affect about 5% of adolescents and are intertwined with issues of obesity.  Based on this early work, she has been successful in raising private funding to expand this program.  (http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/shdh-newsletter/september-2011/grants.html)


Families of Children with Special Health Care Needs.  In conjunction with the Director of Family Initiatives at the Department of Public Health, we were successful in applying for a supplement to the training grant to start the first of what we hope will be a series of activities with these families.  The first is the development of guides to accurate and useful web pages.


Joint Webinar with the BU MCH program.  This year, we plan to offer a webinar for the region in conjunction with the BU program.  Stay tuned for further details.


Again, we encourage you to visit our web site to see the range of technical assistance activities and research publications.  In addition, get to know our current and past students.  We would love to hear from our graduates at any time.  Finally, our seminar schedule is also posted there, and all are welcome to come. We welcome any suggestions for our seminars or symposia, and any additions to the program.


I look forward to seeing you at seminar (http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/mch-cyf-concentration/mch-seminar-schedule/)!

With warm regards,


Marie McCormick

Director of MCH/CYF