Through the Lens of Storytelling: Maternal and Child Health in the US

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This course is under review for 2021. Course registration will open to accepted students once courses are confirmed.

Course Description

This course aims to provide a solid foundation into the domestic perspectives of maternal and child health (MCH) practice, research, and policy. Utilizing real life cases, stories, and interviews, this course examines the health challenges that are faced by women, children, health providers, and policy makers in the United States (US). We will address the public health challenges of mothers and their children as well as the impact of these challenges on the health system. We will use comparative methods of inquiry to understand these issues as they occur and are managed in the US in the realms of vulnerability, development, and outcomes.

The goals of this course are: to introduce students – those with and without significant MCH knowledge – to a way of thinking holistically and comparatively about health problems, their biological and social determinants, and strategies to address them within the field of MCH. Additionally, students will learn to analyze a series of issue-oriented studies; in order to deepen their understanding of public health challenges and alternative solutions within local contexts.

This course will be taught by one instructor, Kathryn Thompson, and will utilize co-instructors, or guest speakers, across specific units. Guest speakers can include but are not limited to Dr. Patrick Vivier, Dr. Angela Bengston, Dr. David Savitz, and Dr. Ira Wilson. The guest speakers are experts in their fields of maternal and child health, epidemiology, and health services research.

The course will combine lecture, discussion, classroom exercises, and off-site visits to Women and Infants Hospital in Providence, RI. In this course, emphasis is placed on shared learning in the classroom with heavy reliance on students’ interaction with their peers. Classroom and take home activities include individual/group writing assignments, mini group presentations, and reading reflections. Often, in class assessments of the material will be conducted using a mixed method of writing and technology applications. Uniquely, this course will utilize personal stories, interviews, and videos to introduce maternal and child health topics.

The students will become knowledgeable of the current state of key MCH issues in the US generally:
Identify and interpret state and national health measures of morbidity, mortality, health status assessment, and health services access/use:
Analyze the risk factors and outcomes of the major health problems.
Know the health disparities in maternal and child health and the influence of economic, biological and social factors that contribute to these disparities.
Prioritize factors that need to be considered when developing public health programs and research. Identify and assess the impact of the organizations, programs and interventions to improve maternal and child health.

Prerequisites: This course is open to anyone with an interest in the areas of public health, maternal and/or child health related issues.

Course Information

  • Course Code: CEPC0906
  • Length: 3 weeks

Program Information

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Brown’s Pre-College Program in the liberal arts and sciences, offering over 200 non-credit courses, one- to four-weeks long, taught on Brown’s campus. For students completing grades 9-12 by June 2021.

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