The MCH Navigator: Tools for MCH Workforce Development and Lifelong Learning
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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.
KeywordsWorkforce Continuing education Leadership Education Public Health Professional Title V programs
We are grateful to the numerous MCH colleagues who contributed their time and expertise to the development of the MCH Navigator in multiple ways, including by participating in focus groups, serving on vetting panels, and disseminating information about the new resource. There are too many to identify individually; it has truly been a “MCH community effort.” That said, we want to extend special thanks to three colleagues who participated in the MCH Navigator Workgroup along with us—Beverly Mulvihill, Jeanette Magnus, and Violanda Grigorescu. We also wish to acknowledge and thank the students who engaged with us to get the work of transforming ideas into reality done. They are: Susannah Anderson; Ashley Belton; Rachel Brzezinski; Andria Cornell; Sara Daleiden; Margaret Hicken; Joseph Lee; Jessica Nelson; Todd Schrecengost; Heather Skanes; Nicole Steffens; and Kathy Vetter. Finally, we share our appreciation for the skill and patience of the technical team—Randy Miller and Robert Peck—who translated the paper version of the portal into the MCH Navigator website. The views expressed are the authors’ and not necessarily those of the Health Resources and Services Administration or the US Department of Health and Human Services.
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