2001 Bernstein J, Paine LL, Smith J, Galblum A. (2001). The MCH Certificate Program: A new path to graduate education in public health. Maternal & Child Health Journal, 5(1): 53-60.
Objective: The purpose of the MCH Certificate Program was threefold: to develop a new educational initiative in response to national and local demands for increased MCH workforce capacity, to eliminate key financial and nonfinancial barriers to advanced MCH academic preparation, and to improve rates of recruitment and retention of students from minority communities, thus enhancing the quality of MCH services available to the region.
Methods: An MCH Certificate Program, designed for clinicians (e.g., nurses, occupational therapists and nutritionists) and public health practitioners as a bridge to graduate programs in public health, combined a competency based curriculum with skills workshops, leadership seminars, mentoring, small group activities, and an interactive teaching format.
Results: Students from the first two cohorts (n = 45) report an expansion of core public health knowledge (issues, policies, and strategies), enhanced self-confidence, and efficacy. Half have experienced job changes that represent increased responsibility, leadership, and professional advancement. A third are enrolled in or have completed a formal program of graduate study in MCH.
Conclusions: This innovative MCH Certificate Program, now in its fourth year, is a new approach to increasing workforce capacity and a successful model of instruction for adult learners. It has the potential for adaptation to a variety of educational settings and MCH populations, and helps to expand the continuum of MCH training experiences in schools of public health.