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Maternal Child Health Projects

Current projects

Doula training and community-based birth worker-led advocacy initiatives in Arizona

This study is driven by two objectives. The first is to evaluate the integration of core competencies outlined in Arizona Senate Bill 1181 and the consideration of birth equity issues within doula training programs currently acknowledged by the Arizona Department of Health Services. The second aim is to gain insights into the advocacy and policy priorities of community-based birth workers of color. Additionally, the study aims to gauge the level of acceptance of the voluntary state certification process for doulas and the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) reimbursement for doulas as a policy goal in Arizona.

Increasing MCH workforce capacity in Arizona

This three-part project is in collaboration with 4th Trimester AZ. (1) Diversifying perinatal mental health workforce; (2) Increasing state Medicaid (AHCCCS) coverage to outpatient lactation support; (3) AHCCCS recognition of perinatal mental health providers as independent practitioners.

Impact of the health care system on the maternal health-seeking behaviors and health experiences of refugee women in Phoenix, Arizona

This study will examine the maternal health-seeking behaviors, health experiences and the unique care needs of African refugee women. The research will include participant interviews, the use of health services and perceptions of maternal health care for African refugee women who have received maternal care. The goal is to identify patterns of maternity care that will help us understand the factors informing positive maternal care experiences to advance MCH equity for refugee women.

Youth listening sessions, Arizona Alliance for Adolescent Health

To better understand health and wellness priorities from a youth perspective through youth listening sessions to inform the next steps to building out a health and social service safety net for adolescents in Arizona.


To better understand health and wellness priorities from a youth perspective through youth listening sessions to inform the next steps to building out a health and social service safety net for adolescents in Arizona.

Snuggle Bug

An observational study to understand how sleep-wake patterns and the gut microbiome affect rapid weight gain in infancy, an early risk factor for obesity. The development of these factors will be examined in the context of feeding, maternal and environmental influences. This is a collaborative project with Valleywise Health.

Opioid use among pregnant women

This project examines (1) opioid use and nutritional social determinants of health, (2) speech-language development and oral motor feeding development over time with infants and young children with neonatal substance abuse syndrome; and (3) how opioid use disorder is operationalized in other cultures. Collaboratively conducted with Hushabye Nursery, the project aims to address these multifaceted aspects.

Family Check-Up 4 Health

Implementing a health promotion program targeting families with children aged 2 to 5 years, this initiative focuses on preventing childhood obesity. The program achieves this through personalized parenting education, motivational interviewing, and facilitating connections to relevant resources.

Children with an incarcerated parent – CIP Caregivers Project

This study aims to create an adapted intervention of the New Beginnings and Resilient Parenting for Bereaved Families that is designed specifically for caregivers of children with incarcerated parents.

Care Coordination

Provides care coordination for children with complex health care needs.

Babble Boot Camp

A clinical trial of a proactive speech and language intervention that is provided to infants as young as 2 months old. The purpose is to find out if severe speech and language disorders can be prevented in children who are born with a known risk for these disorders, in this case children with a newborn diagnosis of classic galactosemia.

Analytics on COVID-19 for MCH populations

Working in collaboration with Valleywise Health to study COVID-19 impact on pregnant women, including identification of high-risk groups, characterizing delivery outcomes, surveying the health status of refugee populations, and understanding the effects of the pandemic on health workers.

Fourth Trimester Truth Booth

A study to understand the attitudes and stories of low-income Arizona mothers’ experiences with feeding practices during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Past projects

Child and Adult Care Food Program Project

Recognized significant distinctions between providers engaged in the CACFP and those who are not participating.

Food sources in LatinX communities

Explored and documented the type, number and distribution of non-conventional food venues and the types of foods found in those venues in South Phoenix using direct observation and geographic information system methods.

College student gut microbiome and health behaviors

Explored the gut microbiome composition in college first-year students in relation to dietary intake, physical activity, social interactions, perceived stress and weight changes across an academic year.

Racial and ethnic disparities

Explored trends in racial and ethnic disparities in physical activity and student grads and whether diet moderated the relationship.

Student involvement

The Training Core aims to prepare undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral trainees for the workforce through the development and implementation of workforce training initiatives. Asynchronous online modules monitored and evaluated by the Training Core, support skill development in areas of translational science and inquiry, ethics, community health and wellness, professional communication, policy and advocacy. The Training Core facilitates experiential learning projects, enhances diversity amongst MCH trainees and pursues training grants to support student research engagement. Interprofessional collaboration is encouraged by working closely with the other MCHTRT cores and community partners to assist in developing leadership skills in the areas of clinical expertise and research.

Contact our co-leads

Community partners

We are engaging with women, children and families all over Arizona. We’d love to collaborate with you! Please join our community of practice by completing our membership interest form. Always feel free to contact us with needs, ideas and other inquiries at