These ideas illustrate how the MCH Navigator can be used individually or in groups for professional development or academic instruction. Specific examples are included from Title V professionals in state and local health departments and from students in academic programs.
Please contact us to let us know how you are using the Navigator in your work or teaching.
In Public Health Settings
New Hire Orientation
You've hired a new staff member who doesn't have experience in maternal and child health. You work together to identify video lectures and self-guided modules from the MCH 101 section of the MCH Navigator. The new staff member can complete these "assignments" during the first four months of the job.
You can have all new hires take the online self-assessment, either for all competencies (60 minutes to complete) or for those competencies most necessary for their job position (each competency takes approximately 5 minutes to complete). New staff can save a personalized learning plan that can be used to map out their learning goals and online resources to help them achieve these goals. Staff can return to the self-assessment at any point (perhaps at the end of their first year) to guage increases in their learning and new skills acquired.
You can direct new employees to participate in one of the MCH Navigator's Microlearning projects. The 5-Minute MCH program is available in 12 discrete modules that each address an MCH Leadership Competency with an introduction, 5 learning opportunities, 5 implementation strategies, and a summary discussion with an expert in the field. This approach is particularly effective in fast-paced settings where there is little time to set aside for lengthy professional development. Additional Microlearning activities will be introduced in January 2017.
Your management team can identify a set of learning resources pulled from the MCH Navigator's Learning Bundles or Quick-Finds and Search page that they will recommend to all new hires as part of their orientation.
Developing Individual Learning Plans Based on Staff Performance Reviews
You can incorporate the online self-assessment into your staff performance review process, either for all competencies (60 minutes to complete) or for those competencies identified by individual's review (each competency takes approximately 5 minutes to complete). Your staff can save a personalized learning plan that can be used to map out their learning goals and online resources to help them achieve these goals over the course of the upcoming year. Your staff can share their plan with you and together you can decide on areas of focused attention and learning. Staff can return to the self-assessment at any point (perhaps a couple of weeks before their next review) to guage increases in their learning and new skills acquired.
At your annual performance review, your supervisor observes that your position increasingly requires outreach to stakeholder groups and media outlets. You agree that you need to improve your communication skills for these new responsibilities. In the MCH Navigator, you find an online course in communication skills and a webinar about communicating public health data in the core Communication Learning Bundle and through the MCH Leadership Competencies page. You email your supervisor a timeline for using these resources and objectives for applying the new knowledge to your work.
Group Learning Activities
You liked the webinar about communicating public health data that you found through the core Communication Learning Bundle in the MCH Navigator. You and your colleagues are preparing fact sheets about state MCH outcomes for use in the Title V Needs Assessment process. These fact sheets will help stakeholders recommend program priorities, so they need to be clear and easily understood. You arrange to have your staff watch the webinar together at a team meeting.
Employees of a program meet over lunch once a month to support each other in leadership development. From the MCH Navigator, they learned about a series of leadership development modules that include videos and group discussion guides. Each month, a different staff person takes the lead on planning and facilitating the meeting.
The MCH Program in the California Department of Public Health has developed an in-person training in which they focused on critical thinking in which they reviewed relevant modules from the 5-Minute MCH program, a background article on critical thinking, and worksheets focused on the needs of their program. Program attendees then participated in an interactive bias exercise connected to critical thinking. The training concluded with the group developing a SMART objective for one of the MCH Leadership Competencies. Evaluative data was collected with findings such as: "I thought I was a good critical thinker, but have more work to do;" "Critical thinking engenders intellectual independence;" and "Reason is a vital part of critical thinking." From the 5-Minute MCH materials, participants responded that they gained an understanding of critical thinking as a "regular part of life" and that the videos "allowed the group to go deeper in the functional nature of critical thinking."
Demonstrating Support for Professional Development
Distance learning is one way to foster professional development when you can't send your staff to conferences or off-site training. By providing opportunities to use the MCH Navigator, you demonstrate that professional growth and learning are important organizational values and benefits of working in your agency
These examples are discussed further in the article: Use of Competency-Based Self-Assessments and the MCH Navigator for MCH Workforce Development: Three States’ Experiences. Maternal and Child Health Journal. Michael D. Warren, Suzanna D. Dooley, Meredith J. Pyle, Angela M. Miller. Published online July 11, 2014.
In the absence of a formal state MCH training mechanism in Maryland's MCH Bureau, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH), the unit leader developed individualized training checklists for staff, relying exclusively on free web-based and in-person offerings. The majority of the content used in the checklists came from the MCH Navigator. Navigator content was customized for each staff member by the unit leader; each checklist contained similar core content, with other content tailored to specific roles and jobs within the unit.
Staff of the Tennessee MCH Section, Department of Health are provided with a brief introduction to the Council on Linkages Public Health Leadership Self- Assessment and the MCH Leadership Competency self-assessment. Both self-assessment tools are offered because some staff in both settings have duties that are not exclusively related to MCH; addition of the Public Health Core Competency Self-Assessment offered an alternative for those staff whose job responsibilities were not solely focused on MCH programming. Staff across the section take the self-assessment and at least one module from the Navigator.
The MCH Navigator serves as a primary resource to orient new Oklahoma MCH state office staff. The new employee checklist used by supervisors lists MCH 101 as a requirement. Participation in this learning experience provides new staff with a foundation of MCH history and also introduces the MCH Navigator and the variety of educational opportunities Since implemented, 100 % of new OKMCH state office staff have completed MCH 101. Follow-up with staff indicates it is an activity they found useful, would participate in again, found applicable to their work, and would encourage other staff to complete, even the more seasoned staff.
Making Technical Assistance More Efficient and Productive
When providing technical assistance or consultation to a program or agency, you can use the MCH Navigator to provide background knowledge or skills building. You can then follow up with a much shorter site visit where you can engage in in-depth discussion and hands-on work with staff who all have been exposed to the same information through pre-selected MCH Navigator learning opportunities.
In Academic Settings
Access Multiple Resources for Current and Future MCH Faculty
The Association of Teachers of Maternal and Child Health (ATMCH) aims to grow and support excellence in teaching maternal and child health (MCH) across multiple academic settings. Specifically, ATMCH offers a forum to support the cadre of current and future faculty, aiming to enhance knowledge and skills essential to teaching in the field of MCH.
We are pleased to share with you that ATMCH will continue to thrive at the University of Alabama at Birmingham through a subcontract from the MCH Navigator program at Georgetown University’s National Center for Education in Maternal & Child Health (NCEMCH). The MCH Navigator has just been funded for another 5-year cycle and is excited to be able to support current and future academic faculty through ATMCH activities as part of its funding from HRSA’s Maternal & Child Health Bureau!
We are excited that many of ATMCH’s previous activities will continue, such as conducting virtual and in-person (as appropriate and safe) gatherings to support current and future faculty; maintaining a platform for the sharing of MCH-related teaching and learning resources; Innovative Teaching Awards; and supporting mentorship. We are also looking forward to integrating ATMCH and the MCH Navigator (and other) resources to provide a seamless learning and sharing experience for our members.
We are currently working out a tentative timeline of ATMCH activities for the next 5 years, so stay tuned for new webinars, additional teaching and learning resources, more information about the Innovative Teaching Awards and Mentorship Project, and announcements of new and exciting initiatives! Also look forward to an announcement on the MCH Navigator’s MCHalert newsletter along with a new regular section on “Advancing Academics”. We are excited about the next 5 years and the many ways in which ATMCH members will be able to engage with MCH Navigator colleagues in this new partnership!
Integrating Self-Assessment Data
As a teacher of MCH in a school of public health or as part of an MCHB-funded training program, you can use pre- and post-self assessment data to measure increased knowledge and skills of your students and trainees. Read about the process for working with MCH Navigator faculty to receive a customized report for your group.
MCH Navigator staff currently work with over 15 academic institutions to provide these reports, including the University of South Florida, the University of California, Berkley, Tulane University, Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center, the University of California, Los Angeles, the University of Connecticut, the University of Oklahoma, the University of Minnesota, Drexel University, and the Oregon Health Sciences Center. From 2016 through 2020, the MCH Navigator provided over 40 detailed reports tracking progress of over 700 students.
Supplementing Course Content
As a teacher of MCH in a larger public health program, you can introduce the MCH Navigator to students to augment course work by registering for the self-assessment at the beginning of their studies and again at intervals throughout their coursework. If done system-wide, you can work with Navigator faculty to receive aggregated data from your class so you can track increases in knowledge and skills. Contact us to explore this possibility.
We are using the management/leadership resources in the course "Implementing Community Health Initiatives: A Field-Based Course in Leadership and Consultation."
-Boston University School of Public Health, Department of Community Health Sciences
I anticipate using the MCH Navigator resources in the Community Health Worker certification course and pointing students to the site if they have a specific learning need or interest.
-A Community College in Minnesota
We can use the MCH Navigator to augment the Core Curriculum and provide additional training for faculty.
-Pediatric Pulmonary Training Center at University of Florida
We can use the MCH Navigator to "catch-up" students who have missed a class prerequisite but have all of the other qualifications necessary. For example, for my advanced class in Reproductive and Perinatal Epidemiology, I often attract students from the epidemiology program who do not have much background in reproductive and perinatal health, but who have strong epidemiology skills. I plan to refer these students to the MCH Navigator for a variety of learning opportunities to prepare them for the course.
-Maternal and Child Health Program, University of Illinois at Chicago
We are planning to use the MCH Navigator as part of our program’s orientation to the field of MCH and to public health in general, as so many of our younger students know they are interested in “health” but really do not understand that public health is about “populations.” We are planning an orientation bundle with selections from MCH 101, Epidemiology and the MCH Planning Cycle. We also can use this orientation bundle with our joint degree students whose primary interest may be anthropology, medicine, or nursing, but who have decided to combine these degrees with an MPH.
-Maternal and Child Health Program, University of Illinois at Chicago
The MCH Navigator is helpful for LEND trainees who don't have a background in Public Health.
-Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) Training Program
Educating Potential Applicants About the Field of Maternal and Child Health
You can send potential hires a link to the 5-Minute MCH module on MCH Knowledge Base. After watching a 5-minute introduction on MCH, they can spend an additional 20-60 minutes checking out other learning opportunities, implementation strategies, and learning more from an expert in the field.
Many potential applicants to our program think they want to enter a Maternal and Child Health program because they have heard about MCH from a friend, or because MCH sounds like what they have been doing in the Peace Corps or AmeriCorps, or because they have always been interested in Women’s Health, but they really do not know what the field of MCH is and need some help getting grounded before making the decision to apply. When potential applicants are uncertain about the field, we use the MCH Navigator to help them decide if MCH is the right fit for them. We send them to the MCH 101 section of the Navigator and suggest that they explore the population health, social justice, and racial/ethnic disparities themes.
-Maternal and Child Health Program, University of Illinois at Chicago
Providing Knowledge and Skills for Internships and Field Placements
You can have interns or staff members in the field use the Quick-Finds and Search page to identify specific courses that will address needs experienced in their on-the-ground work. For interns, this could be particularly useful to give them a "booster shot" of learning in a specific topic area without diving deeper into the full range of MCH issues. For field placements, this could be valuable in addressing their "just-in-time" training needs that change from one day to the next.
The MCH Navigator can be used to augment field-based learning. For example, I am working with a Public Health director in Tennessee who hosts graduate Public Health students in summer internships. The students are enrolled in Public Health programs at local universities that do not provide in-depth instruction on maternal and child public health. The MCH Navigator can be used to bring the students up-to-speed on MCH fundamentals.
-Maternal and Child Health Program, University of Washington
Creating New Training Bundles for Focused Areas of MCH
If your organization has a topic area related to the MCH Leadership Competencies, we invite you to contact us. We are continually looking for new topics to develop learning products on, and may be able to work with you to develop on that serves both of our needs.
MCH Navigator faculty have worked with AMCHP, CityMatCH, the National MCH Workforce Development Center, LEAH grantees, and others to develop customized training spotlights and briefs on numerous topics. Check out our Learning Bundles and Guides page to see if there is a topic area that you'd like to see developed.