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/young adults, and families, especially in geographically isolated and economically or medically vulnerable populations, a focus on individuals as well as the families, communities, and systems of care that support these individuals, and a life course approach to theory and practice..

Topics: History & Structure of MCH/Title V; 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 assessing the impact of personal values, beliefs, communication styles, cultural influences, and experiences on one’s personal and professional leadership style. Self-reflection helps MCH leaders develop a deeper understanding of their personal and cultural biases, experiences, and beliefs and how these may influence future action and learning, identify personal strengths, and strive for balance between private and personal lives.

3. Ethics

Overview: Ethical behavior in professional roles include conduct congruent with generally accepted principles and values. This includes general leadership ethics, such as honesty, responsibility, and cultural competency, as well as ethics specific to the MCH population.

Topics: Ethical Behavior; Professional Codes of Ethics; Institutional Review Boards; Health Disparities ... Learn More through the 5-Minute MCH program



4. Critical Thinking

Overview: Critical thinking is the ability to identify an issue, or problem; frame it as a specific question; consider it from multiple perspectives, evaluate relevant information, and develop a reasoned resolution. An advanced manifestation of critical thinking is evidence-based decision-making – the conscientious, explicit, and judicious use of current best evidence to guide practice, policy, and research. Implementation scienceis also a vital component of critical thinking in order to promote the adoption and integration of evidence-based practices, interventions, and policies.


5. Communication

Overview: Communication is the verbal, nonverbal, and written sharing of information. The communication process consists of a sender who develops and presents the message and the receiver who works to understand the message. Communication involves both the message (what is being said) and the delivery method (how the message is presented). Skillful communication includes attentive listening and clarity in writing or speaking for a variety of audiences. An understanding of the impact of culture, language, literacy level, and disability on communication between MCH professionals and the individuals, families, and populations they serve is also important.

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



6. Negotiation and Conflict Resolution

Overview: Negotiation is a cooperative process where participants try to find a solution that meets the legitimate interests of involved parties; it is a discussion intended to produce an agreement. Conflict resolution is the process of resolving or managing a dispute by sharing each party’s points of view and adequately addressing their interests so that they are satisfied with the outcome. MCH professionals are aware of long-term desired outcomes that include relationship-building and development of trust. They recognize when compromise is appropriate and when persistence toward a different solution is warranted.

7. Cultural Competency

Overview: Cultural competence is a developmental process that occurs along a continuum and evolves over an extended period. It broadly represents knowledge and skills necessary to communicate and interact effectively with people regardless of differences, helping to ensure that the needs of all people and communities are met in a respectful and responsive way in an effort to decrease health disparities and lead to health equity. MCH professionals exhibit cultural (including linguistic) competence through interpersonal interactions and through the design of interventions, programs, and research studies that recognize, respect, and address differences.

8. Family-Professional Partnerships

Overview: Family-professional partnerships at all levels of the system of care ensures the health and well-being of children, including those with special health care needs, and their families though a respectful family-professional collaboration and shared decision making. They honor 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). Further, individuals who have personal experiences with the system of care, such as those with developmental and physical disabilities; behavioral and mental health issues; and/or chronic illness provide insight and a perspective critical to the successful development of effective policies and practices.

9. Developing Others through Teaching, Coaching and Mentoring

Overview: Teaching involves designing the learning environment, which includes developing learning objectives and curricula, providing resources and training opportunities; modeling the process of effective learning; and evaluating whether learning occurred. Coaching provides the guidance and structure needed for people to capably examine their assumptions, set realistic goals, take appropriate actions, and reflect on their actions (and the resulting outcomes or implications). Mentoring is influencing the career development and professional growth of another by acting as an advocate, teacher, guide, role model, benevolent authority, door opener, resource, cheerful critic, or career enthusiast.

10. Interdisciplinary/Interprofessional Team Building

Overview: MCH systems are interdisciplinary/interprofessoinal (ID/IP) in nature. ID/IP practice provides a supportive environment in which the skills and expertise of team members from different disciplines, including a variety of professionals, MCH populations, and community partners, are acknowledged and seen as essential and synergistic. Input from each team member is elicited and valued in making collaborative outcome-driven decisions to address individual, community-level, or systems-level problems. Members of an ID/IP tem may include a variety of professionals, MCH populations, family and self-advocate leaders, and community partners. The team, which is the core of ID/IP practice, is characterized by mutual respect among stakeholders, shared leadership, equal or complementary investment in the process, and acceptance of responsibility for outcomes.

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: 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. Systems 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 system.

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

Overview: A public policy is a law, regulation, procedure, administrative action, or voluntary practice of government that affects groups or populations and influences resource allocation. It is important for MCH leaders to possess policy skills, particularly in changing and competitive economic and political environments. MCH leaders understand the resources necessary to improve health and well-being for children, youth, families, and communities, and the need to be able to articulate those needs in the context of policy development and implementation.

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.