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Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology Program

The Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology Program (MCHEP) is a collaborative effort between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Maternal Child Health Bureau (MCHB). Since 1987, the MCHEP has assigned more than 35 senior CDC epidemiologists focused on MCH epidemiology capacity building and applied research to 20 states, and 6 other public health agencies and organizations (including Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, US-Mexico Border Region, CityMatCH, Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board, and the Indian Health Service Epidemiology Office). The program has also sponsored 18 national scientific conferences, fellowships, and training initiatives.

Family photo

The MCHEP mission is to promote and improve the health and well-being of women, children, and families by building capacity at state, local, and tribal levels and to use and apply sound epidemiologic research and scientific information to maternal and child health programs and policies. This mission is accomplished domestically and internationally by developing Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Epidemiology leaders, promoting peer exchange forums, supporting continued education and training, and providing fellowship opportunities.

MCHEP’s many partners in this effort include organizations that provide direct services or influence policy and practice guidelines, state health departments, tribes, local universities, and others.

We also support work to reduce long-standing and substantial MCH disparities between American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) and other U.S. populations. The MCHEP mission lays the groundwork for improving reproductive and MCH among AI/AN communities throughout the United States.

25 Years of the Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology Program

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Leadership and historians take viewers on a reflective journey of 25 years of the Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology Program (MCHEP). For the past 25 years, the MCHEP has built state, local, tribal, and territorial MCH capacity to improve the health outcomes for women, infants, children, and families.


Developing MCH Epidemiology Leaders

MCHEP has made a significant contribution to epidemiologic research and applied science in the field. The use of applied research and the activities targeting capacity building in MCH epidemiology has allowed states, tribes, and localities to improve the overall health of mothers, children, and families. The purposes of the program are to—

  • Provide direct assistance to public health agencies through assigning senior CDC MCH epidemiologists and fellows.
  • Promote analytic capabilities.
  • Increase the ability to apply scientific and research evidence at the agencies where the senior MCH epidemiologists are assigned.


Sponsored Assignees

MCHEP also works in partnership with the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) to support graduate level fellows in states focused on building MCH capacity. A fellow may work in a state with a senior MCH epidemiologist or independently under the supervision of state staff. In 2013, 11 MCH epidemiologists and 4 CSTE/MCH fellows sponsored by the MCHEP have been assigned to 14 public health agencies or institutions. Learn more about MCHEP Sponsored States, Tribes, Local Public Health Agencies, and Territories.


Promoting Peer Exchange Forums

MCH EPI Conference: The Annual Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology (MCH EPI) Conference brings together more than 500 MCH professionals to present research, share experiences, enhance knowledge, and discuss emerging MCH topics. The results are improved MCH research activities in the field, data use, networking, increased mentoring opportunities, and informed policymaking. Archived sessions from previous MCH EPI conferences are available for review.

2014 CityMatCH Leadership and MCH Epidemiology Conference September 17-19, 2014, Phoenix, AZ.

MCH EPI Listserv: The listserv includes almost 800 MCH scientists and program directors, and provides quick peer exchange and technical assistance on "hot topics" and informs participants of upcoming events and opportunities. To be added to the MCH EPI Listserv, please e-mail us at

MCH EPI Grand Rounds: One-hour scientific broadcasts take place on the first Wednesday of the following months each year—February, March, April, May, September, October, and November. These active internet exchanges include audio and PowerPoint presentations from MCH experts across the country with lively discussion by phone and Internet. These broadcasts are arranged in advance to focus on important and timely MCH issues including epidemiologic studies, policy and program evaluation, methodological issues and tools, and emerging MCH topics. For more information please e-mail us at to be added to the MCH EPI Listserv.

DataSpeak: Sponsored by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), DataSpeak is a series of Web conferences that feature special topics related to Maternal and Child Health (MCH) data, including research on children with special health care needs (CSHCN). Each event features one or more speakers who are considered experts in their field. Visit the archived events for streamed archives of past DataSpeak events.

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Supporting Continued Education and Training

In partnership with others, MCHEP supports diverse training opportunities in epidemiology, biostatistics, program evaluation, and scientific writing to improve the data and analytic skills of staff from state and local public health agencies, including the following:

  • Skills-building workshops targeting identified critical needs.
  • Short-term MCH epidemiology courses for new staff.
  • Graduate certificate training in MCH epidemiology using distance technology.
  • Year-long, team-based training on effectively using analyzed data for public health action.
  • Peer exchange and research collaboration through conferences, Webcasts, and other mechanisms.

MCHB-HRSA/CDC Training: The Maternal and Child Health Bureau at HRSA and CDC collaborate on multiple projects and training in MCH epidemiology. This includes an MCH Epidemiology short course and a doctoral training program.

AMCHP: The Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP) represents state public health leaders and others working to improve the health and well being of women, children, youth, and families, including those with special health care needs. CDC partially funds MCH Epi Training Resource Guide, Matrixed Analytic Training for Reproductive Infant and Child Health Services (MATRICHS), and the Annual Data Skill-Building Training.

CityMatCH: CityMatCH is a freestanding national membership organization of city and county health departments' maternal and child health programs and leaders representing urban communities in the United States. CDC and HRSA partnered with CityMatCH to cohost the first integrated conference, the 18th Annual Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology Conference cohosted with the 2012 CityMatCH Urban MCH Leadership Conference on December 12-14, 2012 in San Antonio, Texas.


Fellowship Opportunities

CSTE: The Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) is a professional association of public health epidemiologists in states and territories working together to detect, prevent, and control conditions of public health significance. CSTE and CDC jointly sponsor an applied epidemiology fellowship program.

EIS: The Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) is a unique 2-year, post-graduate program of service and on-the-job training for health professionals interested in the practice of epidemiology. Participants have the opportunity to conduct epidemiologic investigations, research, and public health surveillance in the MCH field.

ORISE: Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) provides opportunities for postgraduates, students, and faculty to participate in current research and development activities related to CDC’s critical missions. Program participants are provided opportunities for hands-on participation in research and development, and related technical activities at the MCHEP program.

GSEP: The HRSA-sponsored Graduate Student Epidemiology Program (GSEP) offers paid internships in state and city health departments to graduate students in public health by providing training in MCH epidemiology.

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MCH Data Capacity Tools

The MCH EPI and Data Capacity Assessment Tool [Excel - 46KB] was developed to be used in concert with the annual report and annual site visit in reviewing and assessing an agency's past activities and planning for an agency's future. The tool's specific purpose is to track a state agency's MCH EPI and data capacity and activities over time to facilitate assessment, discussion, and planning about an agency's growth in capability.


Data Links and Related Resources

PRAMS: The Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) is a surveillance project of the CDC and state health departments. PRAMS collects state-specific, population-based data on maternal attitudes and experiences prior to, during, and immediately following pregnancy.

Pregnancy Mortality Surveillance System: CDC’s Pregnancy Mortality Surveillance System uses data from all U.S. states to describe levels and causes of pregnancy-related deaths at the national level.

Sudden Unexpected Infant Death: CDC’s Division of Reproductive Health presents National Center for Health Statistics data related to sudden unexpected infant death (SUID). Data presented include breakdown of SUID by cause, trends in SUID rates by cause, SUID by race/ethnicity, and data resources for SUID and sudden infant death syndrome.

SLAITS: The State and Local Area Integrated Telephone Survey (SLAITS) collects important health care data at state and local levels.

NCHS: As the leading statistics agency, the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) compiles statistical information to guide actions and policies to improve the people's health.

Peristats: This online source for perinatal statistics, developed by the March of Dimes Perinatal Data Center, provides free access to maternal and infant health related data at the national, state, county, and city level, and was developed to ensure that health professionals, researchers, medical librarians, policymakers, students, and the media have easy access to this information. Data provided by NCHS are updated throughout the year, and useful for multiple tasks, including fact-finding, health assessments, grant writing, policy development, lectures, and presentations.

MCH Data Connect at Harvard School of Public Health: This source provides a comprehensive online database catalog of MCH datasets, interactive tools, and other data resources for public health professionals, researchers, practitioners, policymakers, and students.

MCH Library at Georgetown University: The library offers a variety of electronic resources, including the MCH Alert, knowledge paths, databases, and other materials developed for health professionals, policymakers, and families. The MCH Library is located at the National Center for Education in Maternal and Child Health at Georgetown University.

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