History & Legacy

Dr Morris and family in 1959

Naomi Morris & her family

The History of the Center of Excellence in Maternal and Child Health (CoE in MCH)

    • The University of Illinois at Chicago Center of Excellence in Maternal and Child Health (UIC CoE in MCH) was established by Dr. Naomi Morris who has devoted her life to maternal and child health.
    • Since 1983, the CoE has received grant funding from the Maternal and Health Bureau (MCHB) in support of graduate-level training in MCH.

Title V and the Maternal and Child Health Legacy

“Perhaps you may ask, ‘Does the road lead uphill all the way?’ and I must answer, ‘Yes, to the very end.’ But if I offer you a long hard struggle, I can also promise you great rewards. Justice for all children is the high ideal in a democracy . . . We have hardly, as yet, made more than a beginning in the realization of that great objective.”          – Grace Abbott, Children’s Bureau Chief 1921-1924

  • Title V, included in the Social Security Act of 1935, provides states with funding for MCH programs and services, including funds for direct health care services and systems improvement. Title V is a Block Grant that funds MCH services in all 59 states and jurisdictions. It emphasizes the importance of system integration and care coordination for mothers, children, and infants, especially focusing on low-income families and those with children with special health care needs (CSHCN).
  • The Maternal and Child Health Bureau is a Title V program and the primary governmental program entrusted with ensuring the health and well-being of the entire population of women, infants, and children.
  • Martha May Eliot M.D. (1891-1978) is considered the mother of the Maternal and Child Health field. She graduated from Johns Hopkins Medical School in 1918, and went on to hold a variety of highly influential national and international public service positions.
  • Grace Abbott is among the greatest champions of children’s rights in American history. She stated, “I stand on the sidewalk watching it because the responsibility is mine and I must, I take a very firm hold on the handles of the baby carriage and I wheel it into the traffic.”