Notes from the Field

Maternal and Child Health Journal

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 324-334

First online:

The MCH Navigator: Tools for MCH Workforce Development and Lifelong Learning

  • Holly GrasonAffiliated withDivision of Maternal and Child Health Workforce Development, Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human ServicesDepartment of Population, Family and Reproductive Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Email author 
  • , Colleen HuebnerAffiliated withDepartment of Health Services, University of Washington School of Public Health
  • , Alyssa Kim CrawfordAffiliated withMathematica Policy Research
  • , Marjory RudermanAffiliated withDepartment of Population, Family and Reproductive Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
  • , Cathy R. TaylorAffiliated withGordon E Inman College of Health Sciences and Nursing, Belmont University
  • , Laura KavanaghAffiliated withDivision of Maternal and Child Health Workforce Development, Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • , Anita FarelAffiliated withDepartment of Maternal and Child Health, The Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina
  • , Joan WightkinAffiliated withDepartment of Community and Behavioral Health, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center School of Public Health
  • , Deneen Long-WhiteAffiliated withDepartment of Health, Human Performance and Leisure Studies, Howard University College of Arts and Sciences
    • , Shokufeh M. RamirezAffiliated withTulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine
    • , Julie PreskittAffiliated withHealth Care Organization and Policy, School of Public Health, University of Alabama at Birmingham
    • , Meredith MorrissetteAffiliated withDivision of Maternal and Child Health Workforce Development, Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
    • , Arden HandlerAffiliated withUniversity of Illinois School of Public Health

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Abstract

Maternal and child health (MCH) leadership requires an understanding of MCH populations and systems as well as continuous pursuit of new knowledge and skills. This paper describes the development, structure, and implementation of the MCH Navigator, a web-based portal for ongoing education and training for a diverse MCH workforce. Early development of the portal focused on organizing high quality, free, web-based learning opportunities that support established learning competencies without duplicating existing resources. An academic-practice workgroup developed a conceptual model based on the MCH Leadership Competencies, the Core Competencies for Public Health Professionals, and a structured review of MCH job responsibilities. The workgroup used a multi-step process to cull the hundreds of relevant, but widely scattered, trainings and select those most valuable for the primary target audiences of state and local MCH professionals and programs. The MCH Navigator now features 248 learning opportunities, with additional tools to support their use. Formative assessment findings indicate that the portal is widely used and valued by its primary audiences, and promotes both an individual’s professional development and an organizational culture of continuous learning. Professionals in practice and academic settings are using the MCH Navigator for orientation of new staff and advisors, “just in time” training for specific job functions, creating individualized professional development plans, and supplementing course content. To achieve its intended impact and ensure the timeliness and quality of the Navigator’s content and functions, the MCH Navigator will need to be sustained through ongoing partnership with state and local MCH professionals and the MCH academic community.

Keywords

Workforce Continuing education Leadership Education Public Health Professional Title V programs