CALL FOR ABSTRACTS — APHA 2024 Annual Meeting and Expo

Maternal and Child Health

Meeting theme: "Rebuilding Trust in Public Health and Science"

Submission Deadline: Friday, March 29, 2024

The Maternal and Child Health Section is interested in receiving abstracts pertaining to research, evaluation, evidence-based programs, and policies in the following areas, several with specific priorities given to this year's conference theme "Creating the Healthiest Nation: Rebuilding Trust in Public Health and Science."

  • Adolescent and Young Adult Health
    The Adolescent and Young Adult Health Committee believes creating the healthiest nation requires supporting today’s adolescents and young adults to grow into the next generation of change agents in their communities. We invite abstracts highlighting the abilities of young people to engage with and change their built and social environments to impact health, advance equity, and strive towards optimal well-being. In line with this year’s theme, we will prioritize submissions focused on youth-led initiatives for public health and science. Rebuilding trust in the system sometimes involves entrusting it to future leaders and advocate to rebuild.

    Additionally, we are interested in:

    Approaches to youth health promotion and social connectedness in physical and virtual settings that are asset/strengths-based or informed by Positive Youth Development (;

    Adolescents and young adults addressing social justice concerns around key health equity areas (e.g., institutional racism, climate change, infant and maternal mortality, environmental justice, food access and insecurity, mental health and well-being);

    High-school-to-college health career pipelines and programs to increase the number of historically underrepresented populations of students in public health and related health professions;

    Youth involved in public health policy development, oversight, and assurance (e.g., program, organizational, and governmental policy and/or governance/leadership).

  • Child Care
    The MCH Child Care Committee is seeking abstracts that focus on health and safety in out-of-home child care, in which children aged 0-5 are provided with care and education on a regular basis, typically during the school day. We aim to promote the conference theme, “Rebuilding Trust in Public Health and Science”, with an emphasis on health, workforce wellbeing and safety as key components of quality child care, and quality child care as a critical element of public health. Specific topics include but are not limited to: addressing trauma and family resilience in the child care context, childhood obesity programs and policies in child care settings, mental health supports for children and/or educators in child care settings, child care workforce health and wellbeing and child care health consultation.
  • Children with Special Healthcare Needs
    The Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Section Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CYSHCN) Committee invites abstracts on surveillance, epidemiology, evaluation, research, public health practice, programs and policy for CYSHCN and their families. We welcome content on centering on youth/family voice and leadership, population-based studies, global and domestic health, right to health care, social determinants of health, early care and K-12 education, identification and referral, early intervention, care coordination, integrated systems of care (e.g., mental health, social-connectedness/social media, pediatric care), genetic testing/counseling, access to care and telehealth in urban and rural communities, quality of life, outcomes, health service access, use, cost, delivery, and quality, workforce, diversity, equity and inclusion, belonging, accessibility, intersectionality, respite care, and transition to adulthood.
  • Epidemiology and Data
    Data are essential to evaluate and inform programs and policies to promote health and wellness. The Data and Epidemiology Committee is interested in abstracts describing the use of quantitative and qualitative data in the maternal and child health (MCH) field including the following: use of surveillance and/or program data to describe MCH outcomes; epidemiologic and qualitative research in the MCH field; evidence-based evaluations of programs and policies targeting MCH populations; application of MCH data across various settings, i.e., community-based, state, national, and international settings.
  • Greg Alexander Student Session
    The Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Section seeks student papers on a variety of topics (e.g., children and youth with special healthcare needs, breastfeeding, care coordination, social determinants of health, reproductive health, and maternal and infant morbidity and mortality) related to MCH research, evaluation, epidemiology, surveillance, evidence-based, population-based, global and domestic health, violence prevention, health services, public health practice, policy, programs, social connectedness, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. The top papers will be presented in the Greg Alexander Outstanding Student Papers session on Monday. These top student authors will be honored at the APHA annual meeting. Accepted papers not selected for this special session may be included in a student poster session or, as appropriate, in other APHA sessions. Submissions should conform to the required APHA structure. First authors must be APHA student members who are working towards a degree at the time of abstract submission. Advisors and other students may be listed as co-authors; however, the first author is expected to do the majority of the writing and analysis and present at the APHA annual meeting. A partial stipend for the first author may be available, contingent on funding availability.
  • Health Services Research
    The primary goal of MCH Health Services Research (HSR) is to strive for the attainment of the highest level of health for all women and children through having access to and receiving the best possible health care. MCH health services researchers are at the forefront of work to identify the most effective ways to deliver high quality health care, reduce medical errors, and improve patient safety for all women throughout their reproductive lives and children from conception to adulthood. The MCH-HSR Section seeks studies on how social identities (race/ethnicity and immigrant status , socioeconomic status, rural/urban, sexual and gender minority status), personal behaviors, organizational factors, and health policies and health system change affect access to health care, quality of and cost of healthcare, patient safety and ultimately the attainment of the highest level of health and well-being for all women, families and children.
  • Improving Pregnancy Outcomes
    Healthy pregnancies, mothers, children, and families are a global concern. From the life course perspective, the health of a newborn is determined, in part, by the life experiences of the baby's mother prior to and during pregnancy. The mother's own in utero experience, together with the cultural, political, environmental, medical, and psychosocial factors that have affected her health status over time (e.g., access to nutritious food, air & water quality, access to health care and healthy environments, access to education and jobs, social support, daily stressors and traumatic events, etc.), can affect her health and the health of her unborn child. The Improving Pregnancy Outcomes Committee is interested in research, policy, interventions and public health initiatives that take a holistic approach to understanding and promoting healthy pregnancy outcomes and health equity, with particular emphasis on biological, psychological, social, and/or physical/environmental factors. 

    The 2024 conference theme is Annual Meeting is "Rebuilding Trust in Public Health and Science,"  so abstracts that feature the role of social connectedness (or, conversely, social isolation/exclusion), broadly defined and spanning micro (e.g., social support), mezzo (e.g., community engagement), macro levels (e.g., policies that promote equity), in improving pregnancy outcomes are of particular interest to the committee.  Besides this, the Committee also welcomes abstracts that more generally relate to improving pregnancy outcomes, such as: maternal health/mental/behavioral health, social disparities in/social determinants of adverse pregnancy outcomes, physical and built environment factors, diversity in/cultural competence of the MCH workforce, innovative programs and policies, faith-based initiatives, life course/development/intergenerational considerations, pre- and inter- conception health and postpartum care, etc.  We also welcome abstract submissions on cutting-edge research, policy initiatives, and interventions that may not directly relate to the conference theme, but nevertheless address 21st century opportunities and challenges to promoting healthy pregnancy outcomes.

  • Infant and Child Health
    In keeping with the annual APHA meeting theme, abstracts are sought that pertain to creating the healthiest nation for infants and children, especially by overcoming social and ethical challenges. Research that examines the effects of interventions and policies at the level of the individual, family, the neighborhood, and the larger community to promote children’s health, development and well-being is of particular interest. More generally, the committee also welcomes abstracts on central themes related to infant and child health and health equity including but not limited to preconception health and health care, preterm birth, infant and child morbidity and mortality, sickle cell disease, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, birth defects research and surveillance, emerging threats to mothers and babies, substance use during pregnancy, neonatal abstinence syndrome, newborn hearing and metabolic screening, developmental screening, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism and developmental disabilities, Tourette Syndrome and tic disorders, neurobehavioral and mental health, muscular dystrophy, spina bifida, parenting, and child development.
  • Innovations in Maternity Services
    The theme of the 2024 APHA Annual Meeting is "Rebuilding Trust in Public Health and Science." The everyday problems facing childbearing families are made worse by the lack of access to care and concerns about quality care and providers and respectful services for diverse populations. Childbearing families in the United States face a climate of structural inequalities that constrain care access, personal choice and options, and positive health outcomes. For this year's program, the Innovations in Maternity Services committee is seeking papers on the Innovations and Inequities in Maternity Care. The focus will be on addressing issues in access to care for communities of color, low-income families, urban and rural residents, immigrants, LGBTQ folks, and other marginalized populations. The focus is on positive programs which address these issues and create a climate of change and innovation. The committee welcomes research and descriptions of programs or policies that advance innovations in care access and promote perinatal health equity as well as culturally specific maternity care, including: midwives, community health workers, doulas, childbirth educators, outreach clinics, insurance strategies, interprofessional collaboration, home birth, birth centers, and community-based care alliances and preserving “normal birth”. One of the goals of this committee is to educate and empower childbearing families to make their own choices, which will ultimately lead to better outcomes in childbirth. Current research or descriptions of programs/policies, which address these issues on the local, state or nation levels, are encouraged.
  • International MCH
    Seeking submissions that address new and innovative approaches to global maternal and child health issues. We will also consider broader issues affecting global MCH including, but not limited to, women’s health, domestic violence, and reproductive health are encouraged. Abstracts considering Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) priorities for MCH will also be welcomed.
  • Multi-Level Determinants of MCH across the Life Course
    Health is the result of multiple interacting determinants, including genetic, biological, behavioral, social, economic, environmental, and political contexts. The timing and accumulation of these multilevel exposures and experiences across the life course influence the development of health and disease. Evidence has established strong links between childhood exposures (i.e., the period from conception through adolescence) and child, adolescent and adult health. This knowledge places a high priority on understanding how context influences health over the life course and how interventions can be used to promote health and mitigate adversity. Abstracts focused on an examination of MCH issues using a multi-level determinants and/or life-course approach are invited to submit an abstract.
  • Paternal Involvement in Pregnancy Outcomes
    Despite the fact that men are important to the health of children and families, men have not played a significant role in maternal and child health initiatives. A large body of research exists on a father’s influence on child health and development, but little is known regarding the role of the expectant father in MCH. There is a great need to develop evidence-based strategies to improve paternal involvement before, during, and between pregnancies, particularly in communities where paternal involvement has traditionally been low and pregnancy outcomes have been poor. Abstracts related to this year’s conference theme might include:

    • Family planning and reproductive health initiatives targeted to males;
    • Best and promising practices to enhance paternal involvement in MCH;
    • Barriers to paternal involvement in research, policy and practice;
    • Preconception health and care programs specific to males;
    • Innovative approaches to clinical practice on paternal involvement in pregnancy;
    • A lifecourse perspective of paternal involvement in MCH;
    • Strategies to raise public awareness for the need to include men in MCH initiatives.
  • Perinatal & Women's Health
    A lifespan approach to women's health implies that the health of women is informed by biological, sociocultural and environmental exposures throughout life. Of particular interest are abstracts that focus on the impact that health equity plays in the elimination of health disparities as they pertain to perinatal and women's health issues and outcomes.

    We welcome topic areas that emphasize positive and negative lifecourse exposures and/or outcomes across women’s health, reproductive health, and perinatal health, including but not limited to: genetics; fetal, infant, and child exposures; health-promoting and health-compromising behaviors; STIs/HIV; abortion; contraceptive access and use; unintended pregnancy; stress and mental health; other acute and chronic health conditions; violence against women (intimate partner, workplace, sexual and verbal violence); conflict (e.g., deployment and warfare, natural disasters); environmental exposures (e.g., neighborhood quality); health care services (access, utilization, coverage); and healthy aging.

    Lastly, abstracts addressing the following themes are encouraged: (1) System-level impacts on maternal and infant morbidity/mortality (e.g., racism; environmental exposures); (2) Women’s preventive health services (e.g., vaccinations; well-women visits, the utilization of doulas in the perinatal and postpartum periods); (3) Health care access and quality (e.g., health equity; quality improvement; maternity deserts, maternal safety bundles;) and patient-provider interactions/communications (e.g., shared decision-making); (4) Health literacy across the system (individual, organizational, policy); (5) Dissemination and implementation science in research and practice (e.g., translating, implementing and scaling up evidence/guidelines to providers/consumer); and (6) the impact of COVID-19 on the lives of women’s physical, mental, and emotional health.

  • Preventing Interpersonal and Community Violence through an Equity Lens
    Preventing interpersonal and community violence is essential to the promotion of wellness across the lifespan, and research shows that racial and ethnic minorities, women, sexual and gender minorities, and people with disabilities – among other groups – are more likely to experience some forms violence than other groups. Many disciplines contribute critical knowledge and perspectives to violence prevention and intervention efforts using theory, data, interventions, evaluation approaches, and policy development. By exploring these various efforts, we can better prevent all forms of interpersonal violence across the lifespan, including child abuse and neglect, intimate partner violence, sexual violence, dating violence, elder mistreatment, technology-facilitated violence, sibling abuse, and community violence. Submissions in any of these areas are of interest. In addition, submissions that address populations at disproportionate risk for violence – particularly research and evaluation on new or adapted prevention programs – are of particular interest.

GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS: Presentations using quantitative and/or qualitative methods are welcome. If you are interested in submitting a group of papers to be presented in a single session please contact the MCH Section Program Planners in advance.

Please read the dos and don’ts below. We received over 450 abstracts for the 2023 program; approximately 30% were accepted for oral presentation and another 30% were accommodated in poster sessions. Our cut off for inclusion into an oral session is an average rating of 35 or higher. Abstracts with lower scores are either waitlisted or placed in a poster session. Waitlisted abstracts are accommodated if there are openings due to withdrawals (most commonly from poster sessions). Final decisions about waitlisted abstracts are made by early August. Please note that the MARCH 29, 2024 abstract submission deadline will NOT be extended. No new abstracts will be accepted after that date. Late submissions or FAX submissions will not be accepted.


  • All presenters must be Individual members of APHA in order to present;
  • You need not be a member at the time of submission but if accepted the presenter must be an APHA member;
  • All presenters must register for the meeting
  • Abstracts cannot be presented or published in any journal prior to the APHA Annual Meeting

It is strongly recommended that you have a commitment of funding to attend the meeting should your abstract be accepted.

NOTE ABOUT CONTACT INFORMATION: Because your contact information is discoverable (and remains in the APHA system for years into the future) we strongly recommend using employer or school contact information rather than your personal/home address.

• Start early! You can start your submission before you have the entire abstract completed.
• Proofread!
• Recommended format: Background, Methods, Results, Conclusions (be sure to include results). Abstracts describing studies waiting to be conducted or not yet completed are scored lower as many times the work is not complete by the time of the meeting and someone else could have had your slot.
• Only a 250 word abstract is required -Make clear the public heath significance or implications of your work (and its relevance to MCH)
• Include your data – abstracts lacking data receive lower ratings

• An abstract free of trade and/or commercial product names;
• At least one MEASURABLE objective (“to understand” or “to learn” are not measurable objectives and compound objectives are not acceptable). Use ONLY the following Measurable Action Verbs: Explain, Demonstrate, Analyze, Formulate, Discuss, Compare, Differentiate, Describe, Name, Assess, Evaluate, Identify, Design, Define or List.
• A signed Conflict of Interest (Disclosure) form with a relevant Biographical Qualification Statement. BE SPECIFIC about how your experience and/or education qualify you to speak on your proposed topic. Just saying that you are an expert in the field is NOT adequate. Example of acceptable biographical qualification statement: “I have been the principal or co-principal of multiple federally funded grants focusing on the epidemiology of drug abuse, HIV prevention and co-occurring mental and drug use disorders. Among my scientific interests has been the development of strategies for preventing HIV and STDs in out-of-treatment drug users.”
• A list of over 30 areas will be provided online for you to choose from. You will be asked to choose at least one or up to 6 areas that your presentation will address.
Abstracts are judged on clarity of presentation, importance/originality, understanding and presentation of implications of findings, quality and description of subject matter including problem statement or hypothesis, quality and completeness of supporting data/philosophy, clarity and interest of presentation, methodology and contribution to the field of MCH. The highest rated abstracts, based on blinded peer review, are selected and placed in sessions according to the overall program plan for that year. Abstracts that include data based on completion of the study or project will have priority.

Continuing Education Credit

APHA values the ability to provide continuing education credit to physicians, nurses, health educators, veterinarians, and those certified in public health at its annual meeting. Please complete all required information when submitting an abstract so members can claim credit for attending your session. These credits are necessary for members to keep their licenses and credentials.

 For a session to be eligible for Continuing Education Credit, each presenter must provide:

 An abstract free of trade and/or commercial product names

  • At least one MEASURABLE outcomes (DO NOT USE “To understand” or “To learn” as objectives, they are not measureable). Examples of Acceptable Measurable Action Words:  Explain, Demonstrate, Analyze, Formulate, Discuss, Compare, Differentiate, Describe, Name, Assess, Evaluate, Identify, Design, Define or List.
  • A signed Conflict of Interest (Disclosure) form with a relevant Qualification Statement. See an example of an acceptable Qualification Statement on the online Disclosure form.

Contact Mighty Fine at if you have any questions concerning continuing education credit. Please contact the program planner for all other questions.


Program Planner Contact Information:

Kimberly Arcoleo,


Lesley Cottrell, PhD


Mary Mitsdarffer, PhD, MPH