A New American University Model for Training the Future MCH Workforce Through a Translational Research Team

Corrie M. Whisner, Jean C. Brown, David M. Larson, Lizeth Alonso Rodriguez, Beate Peter, Elizabeth Reifsnider, Jennie Bever, Li Liu, Erin Raczynski, Jose Benito Rosales Chavez, Chinedum Ojinnaka, Cady Berkel, Meg Bruening

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: To describe the process of developing and implementing experiential learning through translational research teams that engage diverse undergraduate and graduate students. Methods: After a college redesign, translational research teams were developed to foster multidisciplinary research and better integrate students with faculty research, community, and clinical activities. Three primary approaches were used to engage undergraduate and graduate students in the maternal and child health translational research team (MCH TrT). These included an undergraduate experiential learning course; participation in translational research team meetings and events; and mentorship activities including graduate student theses and supplementary projects. Results: Since 2019, a total of 56 students have engaged with the MCH translational research team. The majority (64%) of students engaging in translational research were undergraduates. Racial and ethnic diversity was evident with 16% Latinx, 14% Black/African American, 12% Asian, 10% two or more races, and 4% Native American or Native Hawaiian. A large proportion (42%) of students indicated that they were first-generation college students, while 24% indicated they had a disability. Five themes emerged from student feedback about their involvement in the experiential learning course: the value of translational research, development of research skills, collaboration, practice development, and value for community partners. Conclusions for Practice: Through an MCH translational research team, we have established a pathway to enhance diversity among the MCH workforce which will increase recruitment and retention of underrepresented groups, and ultimately improve MCH research and practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalMaternal and child health journal
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • Child
  • Maternal
  • Training
  • Translational research
  • Workforce

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Epidemiology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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