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5-Minute MCH: Module 11.1

5-Minute MCH: Module 11.1

Working with Communities and Systems

Module 11.1: 5-Minute Introduction

In this module we provide some background on the competency as well as context and information about our learning activities via a video podcast (see below). We also provide a context for you to Learn more about the competency and to start a conversation, so please Comment on what you have learned and Interact with others who have commented as well.

Download a PDF of the Presentation Slides.


Improving the health and well-being of children, youth, families, and communities is a complex process because so many intersecting factors influence the MCH population.

Systems thinking recognizes complexity and examines the linkages and interactions among components—norms, laws, resources, infrastructure, and individual behaviors—that influence outcomes. System thinking addresses how these components interact at multiple levels, including individual organizations; the collective stakeholders; and the communities where the children, youth, and families reside. The achievement of MCH goals requires leadership within the community and among organizations to advance the collective impact of stakeholders that constitute the larger systematus requires the active involvement of many disciplines and an array of public- and private-sector jurisdictions. Reaching a goal of promoting health and preventing problems requires a broad-based systems approach, rather than a categorical approach, to the issues.

Knowledge Areas

MCH leaders will demonstrate a working knowledge of:

  • How organizations or practice settings function as systems, including business and administrative principles related to planning, funding, budgeting, staffing, and evaluating health care systems and organizations.
  • How organizations or practice settings function in relation to broader systems, including principles of systems thinking; features and issues of systems (including but not limited to health economics and health policy); principles of building constituencies and engaging in collaborative endeavors; and concepts of implementation science and factors that influence use of research findings in practice.


Foundational. At a foundational level, MCH leaders will:

  1. Relate the mission, vision, and goals of an organization to the broader system in which it belongs to facilitate shared understanding, responsibility, and action.
  2. Practice budgeting, effective Develop agendas and lead meetings effectively.
  3. Develop agendas and lead meetings effectively.
  4. Identify stakeholders and their extent of their engagement in the collaborative process.
  5. Interpret situations systemically (i.e., identify both the whole situation and the dynamic interplay among its parts).
  6. Assess the environment to determine goals and objectives for a new or continuing program, list factors that facilitate or impede implementation of evidence-based/ informed strategies, develop priorities, and establish a timeline for implementation.
  7. Implement accommodations aimed at increasing inclusion and accessibility for all.

Advanced. Building on the foundational skills, MCH leaders will:

  1. Manage a project effectively and efficiently, including planning, implementing, delegating, and sharing responsibility, staffing, and evaluation.
  2. Use implementation science to promote use of evidence-based/informed practices.
  3. Develop proficiency in the business and administrative aspects of health care finance
    and policy.
  4. Maintain a strong stakeholder group with broad based involvement in an environment of openness, inclusion, and trust.
  5. Build effective and sustainable coalitions to address specific outcomes.
  6. Use community collaboration models (e.g., collective impact) and leverage existing community improvement efforts to define a meaningful role for MCH.


Comment on the Presentation...

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See What Others are Saying...

  • "I'm curious to see what the topics of this month will be. In my mind, this is one of the biggest competencies to date; distilling it into sound bites is going to be difficult."
  • "Looking forward to hearing from CityMatCH at the end of the month."
  • "There are a lot of new resources on systems building, including Driver diagrams that would be of use when looking to explore systems."
This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number UE8MC25742; MCH Navigator for $180,000/year. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.