UCLA School of Public Health Field Studies Program

Community Health Sciences

Field Placement: Los Angeles County Department of Health Services Maternal, Child, and Adolescent Health (MCAH) Program
Los Angeles, CA
Diane Liu
Student Name: Nathalia Allevato
Year: 2005

The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services (LADHS) Maternal, Child, and Adolescent Health (MCAH) Program is dedicated to improving birth outcomes and enhancing the health and quality of life of all women and children in LAC. Through planning, implementation, and evaluation of services and programs, MCAH helps women, especially low-income women, gain access to quality prenatal and postpartum care and social support.

As a participant in the LADHS Summer Administrative Internship Program, I focused my field study on the Los Angeles Mommy and Baby (LAMB) project, a population-based mail survey to collect information concerning the health of LAC mothers. The purpose of the LAMB survey is to improve our understanding of why some women have better birth outcomes than others to be able to help future mothers become healthy themselves and have healthy babies. The results will be used for assessing health-related needs of LAC mothers, for program planning, evaluation, and policy development.

Survey topics include preconception health (access to care, maternal health history), prenatal care (satisfaction, utilization, and content), maternal medical conditions during pregnancy, psychosocial factors (stress, food insecurity, neighborhood safety), and behavioral risk factors (alcohol, drugs, smoking), to name a few. This more comprehensive assessment of pregnant women’s lives will allow MCAH to focus its resources and those areas of need and to develop strategies based on evidence.

During my field study, I helped administer the LAMB project at all levels, from packaging and sending the instrument, to data collection, entry and management, to data analysis. I also worked on three annual reports: the Inter-Agency Council on Child Abuse and Neglect (ICAN) report, the Family Health Outcomes Project (FHOP) report, and the internal MCAH Performance Measures report. I created several descriptive graphs and maps and helped revise and update the written portions of these reports. Finally, I wrote a briefing paper about low birthweight in LAC that will be published in an upcoming edition of The Public’s Health, an internal publication of LACDHS.

My time at this internship was spent meeting and working with dedicated people in the field of maternal and child health, as well as learning new and useful skills that I could never have learned in school and that I can take with me after graduation.


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