College of Public Health students graduating

UK Faculty Members to Play Key Role in the National Maternal and Child Health Workforce Development Center

Lorie Wayne Chesnut, DrPH, Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Kentucky, College of Public Health, has received a three-year, $465,000 contract as part of a larger $5.5 million grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration. The grant, a cooperative agreement with the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Division of Workforce Development, will establish the national Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Workforce Development Center to be located at the University of North Carolina.   

The MCH Workforce Development Center will provide technical assistance and support to public health practitioners in four key areas as related to the Affordable Care Act (ACA): access to care, quality improvement, health systems integration and population health management.   The Center is also challenged to provide training to the future public health workforce – current public health students - preparing them to meet the needs of a challenging public health environment.  

The UK College of Public Health will partner with national partners to identify emerging needs related to the four core areas and will also assist in the identification and development of tools for state, local and tribal public health stakeholders.   In collaboration with Glen Mays, MPH, PhD, F. Douglas Scutchfield Endowed Professor of Health Services and Systems Research, best-practice models as well as resources used to design and integrate systems of care will be identified.  These and other tools will be provided to stakeholders through universal training provided by the Center’s “Transformation Station”.  Targeted and on-site intensive training will also be offered to stakeholders.     

“With the advent of the ACA, it is more important than ever for public health practitioners to integrate across programs and funding silos,” Chesnut said.  “But learning exactly what state, local and tribal public health practitioners’ need, and what works in a variety of settings, is a critical first step if we are to really support the practice community”.  

Co-investigators include Joyce M. Robl, MS, CGC, EdD, Kentucky Department for Public Health, specializing in MCH epidemiology and program evaluation; Julia Costich, JD, PhD, addressing state needs in policy assessment in relation to systems integration projects; Warren J. Christian, PhD, supporting trainings specific to systems visualization through the use of Geographic Information System (GIS) technology; and Rob Sprang, MBA, Director of Kentucky TeleCare, contributing expertise in telehealth technology, policy and legal issues.  

National partners include the University of North Carolina's Gillings School of Global Public Health, where the Center will be housed; the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs, the Center for Public Health Quality, Boston University's Catalyst Center, the School of Public Health at the University of Illinois in Chicago, Howard University and the National Academy for State Health Policy.