The Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Graduate Certificate Program at the Georgia State School of Public Health is designed for students working in public health as well as for professionals from various backgrounds, including physicians, nurses, health educators, clinical research professionals, policy experts, and more. The program has led students to many MCH leadership experiences and established a partnership with Emory’s MCH Center of Excellence.
The Georgia State MCH Certificate courses are included in the Master of Public Health concentrations, allowing students to earn the certificate while completing their degrees, saving time and money.
Three MCH students: Hasset Zelealem, a student leader in the MCH Student Association; Dr. N’faly Keita, 2021-2022 member of the MCH Trainee Ambassador Group, and Kourtnii Farley, Title V Intern, were asked to share their experiences with the program.
Hasset Zelealem Dr. N’faly Keita Kourtnii Farley
After earning her bachelor’s degree in public policy from Georgia State, Hasset moved to Ethiopia for a year to volunteer with local humanitarian and public health agencies. Hasset got the opportunity to work on an Evidence Synthesis project with a team of MCH epidemiologists to conduct trend analyses and growth projections of indicators such as total child immunization and contraceptive planning rates in Ethiopia and its nine regions.
Tell us about your internship experience.
I applied to and ultimately decided to participate in the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs’ Graduate Student Epidemiology Program Internship (GSEP) because of the hands-on training, mentorship, and development opportunities the program provided. I was looking for a chance to engage in another MCH project, like the one I started in public health.
The GSEP program matched me with the Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation (CHCC) in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). At that host site, I was engaged in a Women’s Health Survey, a primary research study to identify barriers to healthcare access among women living in the CMNI. There were significant enrichment, networking, and collaboration opportunities throughout the program. The GSEP Coordinators were our biggest champions, encouraging and supporting us interns every step of the way.
What opportunities did you gain through your internship experience?
Through GSEP, I gained the opportunity to take the lead on a primary research study aimed at understanding barriers to care among women in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CMNI). I participated in several aspects of the project, from survey design to data cleaning, analysis using SAS, interpretation, and presentation of results to AMCHP and CHCC. I was very excited to participate in a project, from start to finish, that will serve as a baseline for future research studies at CHCC’s Maternal, Infant, and Child Health Department.
The GSEP experience was an opportunity to prove to myself that I have what it takes to strategically think through and execute MCH Epi projects that will make a difference in the way (local) programs and policies are developed. I learned this about myself and joined a wonderful and supportive network of fellow MCH graduate students and MCH professionals. I would encourage anyone interested in gaining MCH leadership experience to apply for and take full advantage of the AMCHP GSEP Internship.
Dr. Keita is a Master of Public Health and MCH Certificate program student. He is also a Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) program fellow within the School of Public Health at Georgia State and a member of the Georgia State MCH Student Association. Dr. Keita is also a student in the “Foundations of MCH” course.
Why did you choose the MCH Certificate Program?
Since August 2021, I’ve been committed to MCH projects across the USA and worldwide. I am part of the current Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Maternal and Child Health Bureau Trainee Ambassador Group.
What opportunities did you gain through the MCH program?
I was selected as a LEND fellow due to my commitment to MCH leadership. As a graduate student, I have supported the implementation and evaluation of various MCH-related projects funded by the Georgia Department of Public Health (GADPH). I’ve analyzed evaluation data, prepared evaluation reports, and currently assist with a statewide research study on issues within the MCH workforce in Georgia. The MCH program has helped me provide high-quality Maternal care to women and save lives for women living in poorly resourced settings.
Kourtnii Farley is a Master of Public Health student with a concentration in Health Promotion and Behavior who is also pursuing the Graduate Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Certificate. She is a graduate research assistant (GRA) under the direction of Dr. Sarah McCool.
Why did you choose the MCH Certificate Program?
I’ve had a keen interest in the health of women and children since my undergraduate studies, which allowed me to dive deeply into the maternal health disparities in Georgia. After gaining knowledge of the climate of maternal health in Georgia and the United States, I’ve put these issues at the forefront of my work.
What opportunities did you gain through the MCH Graduate Certificate Program?
Dr. Emily Graybill exposed me to specific internships. In the summer of 2022, I participated in an internship through the National Maternal and Child Health Workforce Development Center, funded by a grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau. The Title V MCH Internship Program is offered to students from a Center of Excellence in Maternal and Child Health, MCH graduate Public Health Catalyst Program, or MCH LEAP Program. Through this internship, I worked with the Connecticut Department of Public Health’s Community, Family Health, and Prevention Section. I collaborated with Connecticut MCH champions, such as the Connecticut March of Dimes and the Connecticut Reproductive Justice Alliance, on an ongoing project to evaluate disrespectful care as a contributor to maternal mortality and morbidity among Black and Hispanic populations.
My work included completing a community scan of activities and resources available in Connecticut around respectful care for pregnant women and their families, a literature review to inform strategic planning, and providing technical assistance for deliverables for Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval.
When you are passionate about your work, it never feels like work. I hope to bring change to those that need it the most.
Learn more about the Maternal and Child Health Certificate Program. The deadline for Fall 2023 applications is March 15, 2023.