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The UNC-CH MCH Leadership Training Consortium: Building the Capacity to Develop Interdisciplinary MCH Leaders


This article describes the UNC-CH MCH Leadership Consortium, a collaboration among five MCHB-funded training programs, and delineates the evolution of the leadership curriculum developed by the Consortium to cultivate interdisciplinary MCH leaders. In response to a suggestion by the MCHB, five MCHB-funded training programs—nutrition, pediatric dentistry, social work, LEND, and public health—created a consortium with four goals shared by these diverse MCH disciplines: (1) train MCH professionals for field leadership; (2) address the special health and social needs of women, infants, children and adolescents, with emphasis on a public health population-based approach; (3) foster interdisciplinary practice; and (4) assure competencies, such as family-centered and culturally competent practice, needed to serve effectively the MCH population. The consortium meets monthly. Its primary task to date has been to create a leadership curriculum for 20–30 master’s, doctoral, and post-doctoral trainees to understand how to leverage personal leadership styles to make groups more effective, develop conflict/facilitation skills, and identify and enhance family-centered and culturally competent organizations. What began as an effort merely to understand shared interests around leadership development has evolved into an elaborate curriculum to address many MCH leadership competencies. The collaboration has also stimulated creative interdisciplinary research and practice opportunities for MCH trainees and faculty. MCHB-funded training programs should make a commitment to collaborate around developing leadership competencies that are shared across disciplines in order to enhance interdisciplinary leadership.

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    The Pediatric Dentistry program was not renewed in 2006 and the Nutrition program was not renewed in 2008. Nevertheless, these two programs were key partners in the Consortium, so this article is presented from the perspective of all five programs.


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Linda Chewning provided technical assistance. The work described has been supported by the following HRSA/MCHB grants: R40MC08558 (Effects of Interdisciplinary Training on MCH Professionals, Organizations and Systems), T19MC00007 (Public Health Social Work Leadership Training Program), T79MC00004 (Public Health Nutrition Training Grant), 5 T17 MC 00015-15 (Pediatric Dental Training Grant), T73MC00030 (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities), TCMC00004 (Training Program in Maternal and Child Health).

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Correspondence to Lewis H. Margolis.

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Dodds, J., Vann, W., Lee, J. et al. The UNC-CH MCH Leadership Training Consortium: Building the Capacity to Develop Interdisciplinary MCH Leaders. Matern Child Health J 14, 642–648 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10995-009-0483-0

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  • Interdisciplinary education
  • Leadership education
  • MCH collaboration