MCH Competencies

MCH Competencies

Trainings by MCH Leadership Competency

Use this page to find learning opportunities related to specific knowledge and skill sets identified for each of the MCH Leadership Competencies.


1. MCH Knowledge Base/Context

Overview: MCH is a specialty area within the larger field of public health, distinguished by the promotion of the health and well-being of all women, children, adolescents, fathers, and families, especially in disadvantaged and vulnerable populations, and a life cycle approach to theory and practice.

Topics: History & Structure of MCH/Title V (e.g., Lifecourse); Focus on Specific MCH Populations (e.g., CYSHCN); Public Health Background; Performance Measures & Data Collection ... Learn More through the 5-Minute MCH program



2. Self-Reflection

Overview: Self-reflection is the process of examining the impact of personal values, beliefs, styles of communication, and experiences. This process develops a deeper understanding of one’s culture, personal and cultural biases, experiences, and beliefs as these may influence future action and learning.

3. Ethics and Professionalism

Overview: Ethical behavior and professionalism include conduct congruent with generally accepted moral principles and values and with professional guidelines based on those principles and values. This includes general leadership ethics, such as honesty and responsibility, as well as ethics specific to the MCH population, such as reducing health disparities and behaving in a culturally competent manner.

Topics: Ethical Behavior; IRB; Health Disparities ... Learn More through the 5-Minute MCH program



4. Critical Thinking

Overview: Critical thinking is the ability to identify an issue, dilemma, or problem; frame it as a specific question; explore and evaluate information relevant to the question; and integrate the information into development of a resolution. An advanced manifestation of critical thinking is evidence-based practice – the conscientious, explicit, and judicious use of current best evidence about practice, the creation of policy, and the conduct of research.


5. Communication

Overview: Communication is the verbal, nonverbal, and written sharing of information. The communication process consists of a sender who encodes and presents the message and the receiver(s) who receives and decodes the message. Communication involves both the message (what is being said) and the delivery method (how the message is presented).

Topics: Written, Verbal, Non-Verbal Skills; Challenges; Social Media ... Learn More through the 5-Minute MCH program



6. Negotiation and Conflict Resolution

Overview: Negotiation style inventories are a popular commodity in the commercial marketplace. Numerous consulting and/or training companies market their assessment and intervention materials.

7. Cultural Competency

Overview: Cultural competence is the knowledge, interpersonal skills, and behaviors that enable a system, organization, program, or individual to work effectively cross-culturally by understanding, appreciating, honoring, and respecting cultural differences and similarities within and between cultures. The acquisition of cultural competence is a dynamic, ongoing, developmental process that requires a long-term commitment and is achieved over time.

8. Family-Centered Care

Overview: Family-centered care ensures the health and well-being of children and their families though a respectful family-professional partnership that includes shared decisionmaking. It honors the strengths, cultures, traditions, and expertise that everyone brings to this relationship. Historically, in the field of MCH, the concept of family-centered care was developed within the community of parents, advocates and health professionals concerned for children and youth with special health care needs (CYSHCN).

9. Developing Others Through Teaching and Mentoring

Overview: Teaching involves designing the learning environment (includes developing learning objectives and curricula), providing resources to facilitate learning, modeling the process of effective learning in the subject matter, and evaluating whether learning occurred. Mentoring is influencing the career development and career satisfaction of a colleague by acting as an advocate, coach, teacher, guide, role model, benevolent authority, door opener, resource, cheerful critic, and career enthusiast.

10. Interdisciplinary Team Building

Overview: MCH systems are interdisciplinary in nature. Interdisciplinary practice provides a supportive environment in which the skills and expertise of team members from different disciplines, including families, are seen as essential and synergistic. The expertise of each team member is elicited and valued in making joint outcome-driven decisions to benefit individuals or groups and to solve community or systems problems.

Topics: Leadership Principles; Quality Improvement; Collaboration with Programs and Colleagues ... Learn More through the 5-Minute MCH program




11. Working with Communities and Systems

Overview: Systems thinking is the ability to appreciate complexity. This includes the ability to see the whole and the parts to understand the ways in which the parts interact and influence outcomes. Collaboration is a mutually beneficial and well-defined relationship entered by two or more organizations to achieve goals and act as one to solve an agreed upon issue. Key to collaboration is the use of supportive and inclusive methods to ensure that those represented by the collaboration are included in the change process and share power.

Topics: Collaboration with Communities/Stakeholders; Systems Thinking/Systems of Care; Strategic Planning and Project Management; Program Development ... Learn More through the 5-Minute MCH program



12. Policy and Advocacy

Overview: A policy is a decision designed to address a given problem or interrelated set of problems that affect a large number of people. Advocacy consists of activities carried out on behalf of policies or constituencies; its purpose is to influence outcomes that affect peoples’ lives. MCH leaders need to possess policy and advocacy skills, because they often must defend and advocate for MCH resources in competitive economic and political environments.

Topics: Policy at State, Local, and National Levels; Informing Policymakers; Using Data to Propose Policy Change ... Learn More through the 5-Minute MCH program



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.