Incorporating the life course model into MCH nutrition leadership education and training programs
Life course perspective, social determinants of health, and health equity have been combined into one comprehensive model, the life course model (LCM), for strategic planning by U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau. The purpose of this project was to describe a faculty development process; identify strategies for incorporation of the LCM into nutrition leadership education and training at the graduate and professional levels; and suggest broader implications for training, research and practice. Nineteen representatives from 6 MCHB-funded nutrition leadership education and training programs and 10 federal partners participated in a one-day session that began with an overview of the models and concluded with guided small group discussions on how to incorporate them into maternal and child health (MCH) leadership training using obesity as an example. Written notes from group discussions were compiled and coded emergently. Content analysis determined the most salient themes about incorporating the models into training. Four major LCM-related themes emerged, three of which were about training: (1) incorporation by training grants through LCM-framed coursework and experiences for trainees, and similarly framed continuing education and skills development for professionals; (2) incorporation through collaboration with other training programs and state and community partners, and through advocacy; and (3) incorporation by others at the federal and local levels through policy, political and prevention efforts. The fourth theme focused on anticipated challenges of incorporating the model in training. Multiple methods for incorporating the LCM into MCH training and practice are warranted. Challenges to incorporating include the need for research and related policy development.