The U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau has awarded a three-year, $305,000 grant to fund a project called Women’s Integrated Systems for Health (WISH) Distance Learning Initiative. Dorothy Cilenti, MSW/MPH ’89, DrPH, clinical assistant professor of maternal and child health at UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and deputy director of the School’s N.C. Institute for Public Health, will serve as the project’s principal investigator.
The program will be part of the Southeast Public Health Training Center, which is housed at the Institute. Collaborators include the public health school’s Department of Maternal and Child Health and UNC School of Medicine’s Center for Maternal and Infant Health.
WISH addresses the need to better integrate public health and mental health systems to improve women’s health across the lifespan. The program will train the public health and mental health workforce on specific competencies needed to apply a public health, population-based approach to the design of women’s health policies, programs and service delivery systems.
More than a decade has passed since the Surgeon General’s office released its first report on mental health, calling for the full integration of mental health into the nation’s public health system.
“WISH will strengthen the public health workforce by bridging the public health and mental health training needs of interdisciplinary professionals using state of the art online methodologies,” Cilenti says.