Category: Prospective Students

UIC MCHP Degree Programs: Deadline to Apply is Approaching

Our program:

Through leadership, scholarship, and partnership, the Maternal and Child Health program (MCHP) at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health trains students to support and promote the health and well-being of women, children, and families.  The program emphasizes multi-level approaches to understanding the complex factors that affect population health and health disparities.  An essential ingredient is the partnerships we have with public and private agencies serving the MCH population and the communities in which MCH problems are most persistent and pervasive.  The program is committed to scientific rigor, evidence-based public health practice, and the principles of participatory and collaborative research and practice.  The program offers a special track in MCH Epidemiology with an emphasis on training individuals to carry out high-level epidemiologic work focusing on the activities of the MCH planning cycle (i.e. surveillance, assessment, planning, implementation, monitoring, evaluation, and policy development).


Degrees Offered:

Master of Public Health (MPH) in MCH and MCH Epidemiology

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in MCH and MCH Epidemiology



MCH applicants must be accepted into the MPH or PhD program in  the Division of Community Health Sciences at the UIC-SPH and have an interest in the area of MCH.

MCH Epidemiology applicants must be accepted into the MPH or PhD program in either the Division of Community Health Sciences or the Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the UIC-SPH and have an interest in the area of MCH Epidemiology.

Applications are due on February 1, 2013 for domestic students and December 15, 2012 for international students.

To learn more about the UIC MCH Program and how to apply, please contact Jaime Klaus at or visit our website at


Registration Open – July 2012 MCH Leadership and Legacy Retreat

July 22-24, 2012

Hyatt Lodge, Oak Brook, IL

 Leading in Challenging Times: Innovations & Inspiration

Please consider joining us this summer for the 5th annual UIC MCH Leadership, Legacy, and Community Retreat.  This year’s retreat is exciting! Our focus is on Leading in Challenging Times; however, we will not talk about this concept in ways that you may expect. We will begin with sharing personal stories of our journey and work with women, men, children, and families. Dr. Michael Fraser, CEO of the Association for Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP) will lead us in this process. We will continue to connect with one another through a building common ground exercise followed by a thought-provoking discussion about what motivates us!

During the rest of the Retreat, we will explore and practice various leadership concepts including challenging the assumption that these are indeed challenging times. Change is ubiquitous. Everything is always changing and today these changes are happening at an increasingly rapid pace across all aspects of our lives: the economy, the environment, technology, public health, medicine, music, leadership, etc. As we continue to move forward in ever-changing times, what do we know and do in this day and age to support ourselves, each other, the environment, the economy, and the work to which we have devoted our lives?

We will explore a process that will turn our thoughts about leadership upside down. This will be followed with work about managing change as change is a primary leadership challenge we all face. Finally, we will conclude the program with work on the core act of leadership which involves changing the typical conversations in which we engage so that we can ultimately experience the positive outcomes for women, men, children, and families that we all desire!

The leadership training will be facilitated by Dr. Stephen Bogdewic, PhD, Executive Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs & Professional Development at the Indiana University School of Medicine. Many of us have had the honor of working with, learning from, and being inspired by Dr. Bogdewic. He is an innovative, thought leader. He is connected with the human spirit and our core desires to make an impact. He has taken what he teaches and implemented it in practice to help change the face of the Indiana University School of Medicine.  Click on the following link to view the agenda.

*Please note the event starts on Sunday



Professionals: $325 (early registration ends on 07/06/2012) or $425 (late registration)

Students: $150

Click on the following link to register.


For more information visit our website.

Training Opportunity for Graduate Students Interested in Children with Developmental Disorders


An Opportunity for Future Leaders Serving Children with Developmental Disabilities

The Institute on Disability and Human Development at UIC is excited to announce LEND training opportunities open to graduate students from the core disciplines of:

  • Applied Behavior Analysis
  • Child Psychiatry
  • Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics
  • Disability Studies
  • Family
  • Nursing
  • Nutrition
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Pediatrics
  • Physical Therapy
  • Psychology
  • Public Health
  • Self-Advocate
  • Social Work
  • Special Education
  • Speech Language Pathology

The Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) program, sponsored by the Bureau of Maternal and Child Health, prepares future leaders who will serve children with neurodevelopmental and related disabilities (with a focus on autism) and their families.  The LEND Interdisciplinary Training Program is a one-year training program that incorporates both didactic and experiential learning in clinical and community-based settings. A stipend up to $5000 per year will be provided.  Trainees will gain experience in the coordination of culturally competent family-centered care, the provision of public health services, and the implementation of policy systems change.  The didactics take place over 2 semesters starting August 2012 and ending May 2013 with clinical/community training available through June 2013.

Deadline to apply is May 11, 2012.

Family/Self-Advocate trainees are individuals with a developmental disability and/or individuals who have a family member with a developmental disability. A high school diploma or equivalent is a requirement to be considered for the Family/Self-Advocate traineeship.  Priority is given to graduate students in the above disciplines and family/self-advocates; however, recent graduates working in the field may also apply.  In order to receive a stipend, a trainee must be a US citizen or permanent resident.

For more information about the LEND program or to complete an application, please visit the IL LEND website or contact the LEND Project Coordinator:

Leslie Stiles


Leslie Stiles, MS, RD, LDN

IL LEND Project Coordinator

University of Illinois at Chicago

1640 W. Roosevelt Rd. #205A

Chicago, IL 60608


A Student’s Journey to DC for the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP) Annual Conference

Anne Cutler, Arden Handler, MCH students, and LEND trainees advocating at Mark Kirk's office for Title V programs and funding

Attending the annual AMCHP conference was a great experience for me.  As students, we were able to network and learn a lot, even by the first day!  On Sunday, I had the chance to see the official kick-off of the conference.  The first general session we attended was on the topic of the life-course model, which was led by Dr. Arden Handler and Amy Fine. We also had the opportunity to hear about how Indiana and Rhode Island were applying the life- course model to their state-level MCH programming. Later in the afternoon, we attended the welcome session with lectures from the newly appointed associate administrator of MCHB, Michael Lu; AMCHP’s director, Michael Fraser; and the John C. McQueen memorial awarded, Gail Christopher. All three talks were wonderful.  It’s great to hear from and also become familiar with the faces of the key leaders in our field. Along with this, I attended an adolescent health session about teen pregnancy prevention and a networking event for new conference participants where a fellow student and I got to meet the Title V Director of Texas. This was a great opportunity for me to apply my knowledge from our CHSC 511 MCH Systems course in order to understand the work that he was doing and maybe, even impress him a little!

Viewing the new Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial in DC

The following day,  Dr. Handler invited students to go with her and members from the Illinois LEND program to advocate in Senator Dick Durbin’s and Senator Mark Kirk’s offices.  We advocated not to cut funding for the MCH Title V programs, as well as the LEND program.  This was a very unique experience for me because we all had the opportunity to speak to the Senators’ aids about what we are doing, how our programs are so valuable to us, and what impact these programs have on MCH populations.  Later that day, we attended the Region 5 meeting (which includes IL, WI, MI, MN, OH, IN) during lunch where we discussed hot topics among our states and other business-related issues that needed to be addressed.  Additionally, I went to an adolescent health session, where the first section was presented by a representative from Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health (ICAH) about a bill they are advocating for regarding comprehensive sex education in the state of Illinois.  This was great to see Illinois leadership at the conference and also see a particular focus on our home state.  The second section of the presentation was about a preconception health program implemented in North Carolina.  When listening to the speaker,  I found myself somewhat choked up by the examples of how students have felt so empowered to be given the opportunity to do program activities, such as create a reproductive life plan.  I think this is an excellent and successful MCH program.

On Tuesday, AMCHP also had a specific session about advocating for MCH programs specifically in our current times with reduced budgets and spending.  This was very useful for me and other students, especially as we are nearing graduation in May.

AMCHP also set aside additional time that afternoon for groups to go to the Capitol and speak to their respective representatives and senators. I thought this was a great way to develop a concrete skill in maternal and child health practice, as well as test my knowledge and understanding of maternal and child health issues.

All in all, attending the AMCHP conference was a great experience for me as a 2nd year graduate student at UIC.  I’m so glad I had the opportunity to go.  I think the biggest thing that I learned was how state leaders go about promoting maternal and child health programs, as well as providing an array of successful programs for MCH populations in their state.

By Elizabeth Bennetts, 2nd year MCH-MPH student

2011 Practicum Experiences

Tara demonstrating how to perform menstrual regulation with local women

My Journey through India and Bangladesh

On my fifteen hour plane ride to India this summer, I reviewed numerous articles about menstrual regulation, abortion and mid-level health providers in Bangladesh and around the world. Menstrual regulation is legal in Bangladesh and is used to empty the uterus when a woman’s menses has been delayed up to 10 weeks. It is done before a pregnancy test or ultrasound has confirmed that the woman is actually pregnant and results in her resuming her menses.  In reading all of these articles, I was preparing for a 5-week trip to India and Bangladesh where I would have the opportunity to do my field experience by working with the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF). During my practicum, I was based in India with the South Asia Regional Office of IPPF. I worked with the dedicated abortion team to design clinical guidelines for the management of incomplete abortion and its associated complications.

Once I had gained an understanding of the reproductive health care needs of women in Bangladesh and the availability of services, I was able to construct the clinical guidelines within the context of the resources and policies of Bangladesh. Thus, the practicum enabled me to do policy work, which is an area that I often do not get to spend time on in my daily work in the United States. Once these guidelines were complete, we traveled to Bangladesh to introduce and review the guidelines with key stakeholders in the reproductive health community of Bangladesh. We then held a conference for mid-level providers, which were the women who actually provide reproductive health care services within Bangladesh. From this conference, we were able to provide training about menstrual regulation, updates on contraceptive methods available, and a supportive community for the women to truly be heard.

Bulletin Board displaying contraceptive methods available for women

This field experience was an incredible opportunity to learn about reproductive health with a hands-on approach in a setting completely different from my work as a Family Planning Fellow in Chicago. In the future, I plan to work with IPPF to continue to address reproductive health needs of women around the world. Seeing this experience through a public health lens has enabled me to gain a greater understanding of the needs and resources that impact communities around the world and the impact that family planning can have on women and their community.

by Tara Kumaraswami, 2nd Year MCH-MPH Student, Family Planning Fellow


The Trials of Public Health Work in a New Cultural Experience

Sarah Kammerer spent the summer interning for a small Indian-run NGO called Ekjut, located in a rural town in the eastern state of Jharkhand. She spent the summer developing an intervention that addresses family planning and contraceptive use within the marginalized tribal communities that Ekjut serves.

Here is a glimpse of one of her journal entries, while in India.

The most common question I’ve received since arriving in India is “What’s it like?”

Sarah visits with the families and children served by Ekjut

I’ll start with the easy stuff.

It’s about 2 kilometers from my flat to the office. I’m picked up and dropped off each day by one of my coworkers on their motorcycles. The roads are terrible. Animals are everywhere.  No building or store remotely resembles anything from home. Food stands are set up along the road, but no grocery store for a hundred miles. Once you pass through town, you are immediately transported to a scene from the Jungle Book: rice patties, mist covered mountains and elephants.

But the people? They are the same. Adults go to work, kids go to school. Women stand outside their houses in the evening and gossip about the latest news in the town. Men tinker on their motorcycles or relax over a beer (the local tribal beer is known as Handia). But instead of women in high heels and shoulder bags, they walk barefoot with large baskets on their heads filled with laundry or food or rocks. Small children entertain themselves with rocks and sticks, not Barbies and Tonka trucks. Girls, in their deep purple and lavender school uniforms and pigtails, ride to school not on big yellow buses, but government provided bicycles.

These are the things that are easy to get used to. It’s everything else that’s hard.

The other day as I was riding to work, there was a woman passed out on the side of the road, her sari around her waist, exposing everything for the world to see. I do not know what was wrong, she could have passed out from the heat or perhaps from something else. I asked my friend if we should stop, but he said we needed to keep going, her family would probably be there soon. Nearly a week later, I still think of her, I still cry for her. I wish I could have done something. I can throw out all the excuses in the world: I can’t speak Hindi, much less any of the tribal languages in the area, I’m not a doctor, I wasn’t about to jump off a moving motorcycle, but none of them make me feel better: a woman was helpless on the side of the road and I didn’t stop to help. What happened to her, I will never know, but I do know I will never let it happen again.

And it’s not just the images, it’s the stories too.

One woman delivered in the hospital, was released immediately after giving birth, only to hemorrhage as she was practically shoved out the door. She died in front of the hospital.

An Ekjut facilitator from a local village shadowed a nurse at the hospital for a week. Understaffed, she was immediately put to work. The nurse told her to rinse off the dirty needles and put them in a box to be “reused when the nurses make their rounds in the villages.” Imagine how you would feel if learning that your own friends and family didn’t even deserve clean needles.

Or what about reports from the village women, who upon arriving at the hospital are turned away. Why? Because maybe the doctor didn’t show up that day or maybe he was just too busy to take another patient. And if the women actually are admitted, they are treated with such disrespect; they vow never to return again.

The worst part? These stories are a dime a dozen. But, that’s why I am here, right? To learn about Ekjut and what makes them successful, to do research about a subject that I love and ultimately, work for the improvement of maternal health in underserved, marginalized communities.

So, India? It’s a crazy, beautiful place. At times it’s mind-boggling, heart-wrenching and absolutely exhausting. But it’s becoming home and without a doubt, everyone at Ekjut is family.

Overall from this experience, Sarah learned about Ekjut’s vision and how they turned it into reality. She learned more about Ekjut’s methods, their strength, and weaknesses. She also learned how to put together a project proposal and develop an intervention program, while also gaining knowledge of Indian culture. Beyond this, she learned about family planning methods-both the challenges and critical benefits. And as mentioned before, Sarah clearly learned more about herself, her own strengths, her capabilities, and the areas in which she can further improve.

by Sarah Kammerer, 2nd year MCH-MPH student


Preventing Unsafe Abortions in Thailand

Britt with fellow OB-GYNS at a clinic site

For my practicum, I worked in Thailand with the Women’s Health and Reproductive Rights Foundation (WHRRF) of Thailand, an NGO which works to promote abortion training. The organization advocates for change in the abortion laws, which currently allow for abortion only in the case of risk to maternal physical health or pregnancy resulting from rape.
I began my trip to Thailand by participating in the “Executive Brainstorming Meeting on Modification of Medical Curriculum for Prevention of Unsafe Abortion” organized by WHRRF.  This was a meeting of academic physicians from medical schools all over Thailand to discuss the importance of safe abortion trainings for residents and medical students.  At the meeting, I gave a lecture about our training in the U.S. and also participated in discussions with the Thai physicians about modifying their current curriculum.

A woman cutting durian in the market

I spent the remainder of my trip speaking with physicians and other health workers about the importance of access to safe abortion services, in many different settings.  These settings included a teaching hospital in a southern province, an outpatient abortion clinic in Malaysia, rural hospitals, primary care clinics, STI prevention clinics, the Ministry of Health, and three different academic centers in Bangkok.  Through these discussions, I have gained a deeper understanding of the country’s successes and challenges in the fields of contraception and abortion.  I was impressed with people’s willingness to speak with me honestly and openly about these controversial issues.  Lastly, I was honored to be invited to speak about the importance of safe abortion in many different settings, while in Thailand.

by Britt Lunde, 2nd Year MCH-MPH Student, Family Planning Fellow

Please note that not all practicum experiences are abroad.  Many MCHP students work with local organizations on various projects.

Language Tips

Hi all! I was recently introduced to this blog on Language Tips.

The blog includes Weekly Language Usage Tips on grammar, spelling, usage, and other issues relevant to formal writing.  This is a great resource for all of us students and professionals who do any formal writing – papers, reports, IRB applications, grant applications, manuscripts, etc.  If interested, you can sign up to receive their weekly emails or you can link to it as often as you like from our blog roll!

MCH Trainee and Alumni Webinar

Hi All.  We wanted to share the archive of a recent MCH Webinar with you.  If you are a current student in an MCH training program, such as the MCH Program at the UIC School of Public Health or any of the diverse MCH training programs across the country, an alumni of one of these programs, thinking about enrolling in a graduate program in MCH, or thinking about a career involved in improving the health and well-being of women, children, and families please take a listen to this webinar.  It helps to create a context for the work we do in MCH and is quite inspiring!

The Webinar provides an overview of HHS/HRSA/MCHB/ DRTE and the Training Program Portfolio.  You will learn how MCH leadership training serves as the catalyst to assure national MCH impact and MCHB Training Program priorities.  The slides and the audio are available here.

The speaker is Gwendolyn J. Adam, PhD, LMSW

Chief, Training Branch

Division of Research, Training and Education

Maternal and Child Health Bureau

Health Resources and Services Administration

UIC School of Public Health 2010

Hi All.  Here is a youtube video clip of the UIC School of Public Health in 2010.  It’s a great video representation of what our School is about and what we were up to in the last year.   Hope you enjoy!