The Life Course Perspective offers a way of looking at health, not as disconnected stages unrelated to each other, but as an integrated continuum. This perspective suggests that the many facets of life contribute to health outcomes across the course of one’s life. It builds on public health and social science literature which highlight the influence of each stage of life on the next and shows how social, economic, and physical environments interact to have a profound impact on individual and community health.
At the National MCH Life Course Meeting June 9-10, 2008 participants discussed 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 reviewed 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.
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. CityMatCH and Contra Costa Health Services’ collaborated and launched the toolbox.