The MCH Life Course Toolbox is an online resource for MCH researchers, academics, practitioners, policy advocates, and others in the field to share information, innovative strategies, and tools to integrate the Life Course Perspective into MCH work at the local, state, and national levels.
The Life Course Perspective offers a new way of looking at health, not as disconnected stages unrelated to each other, but as an integrated continuum. This perspective suggests that a complex interplay of biological, behavioral, psychological, social, and environmental factors contribute to health outcomes across the course of a person's life. It builds on recent social science and public health literature that posits that each life stage influences the next and that social, economic, and physical environments interacting across the life course have a profound impact on individual and community health.
The National MCH Life Course Meeting was convened in Oakland, CA on June 9-10, 2008 to discuss promoting a new direction for the field of MCH and to begin new conversations that would lead to increased efforts focused on social determinants of health and reinventing MCH. Meeting participants were asked to review five distinct MCH domains: theory, research, practice, policy, and education and training. Through substantive discussions and lively dialogue, meeting participants identified a number of innovative strategies for future directions, a key strategy of which was developing an MCH Life Course Toolbox.
One of the meeting's organizers, Contra Costa Health Services' Family Maternal and Child Health Programs has collaborated with CityMatCH to launch this Toolbox.
Moving the Life Course Work Forward: Recommendations from the Life Course Town Hall Meetings
CityMatCH and AMCHP hosted two town hall-style meetings (in September 2010 and February 2011) for key MCH leaders
and practitioners interested in and currently developing life course-focused programming. These Town Hall Events explored applying the life course perspective, social determinant of health, and health equity concepts to everyday MCH practice, and promoted in-depth discussions about the three essential elements of the MCHB Concept Paper: knowledge base, program and policy strategies, and political will. The voices of participants are the essential part of the document Moving the Life Course Work Forward: Recommendations from the Life Course Town Hall Meetings, which includes thoughtful, insightful, and innovative approaches and ideas that were shared in these two meetings.