Women’s and Children’s Health.

Women’s and Children’s Health Section


The WCH section membership includes diverse professions which include dental providers, nurses, social work, physicians, mid-level providers, nutritionists, health educators, and other public health professionals. These professionals all share a focus on a variety of issues impacting the health of children and families using the life course perspective. Examples of these health focus areas for the section include oral health, environmental health, pregnancy, and immunizations, preconception health, reproductive health, and developmental and psychosocial screening for infants, children and adolescents. The section’s goals are to improve awareness of critical health issues for families, including training and access to information and promotion of collaboration between multi-disciplinary public health professionals to improve health outcomes. The section provides opportunity for individual professionals to share and leverage their specialty knowledge and develop partnerships which can impact public health at the local and state level.


Section Leadership

Jacquie Simmons


Leigh Yount


Stacy Rosser


Gerri Mattson


Michaela Penix


Flavia Nalubwama


First Last


Michaela Penix


2023 Fall Educational Conference
Speaker Presentations

Awards and Scholarships


Do you know a superhero that works in women’s or children’s health? Nominate them for the NCPHA Women’s & Children’s Health Super Heroes Award!

The NCPHA Women’s and Children’s Section Committee is requesting nominations for outstanding Super Heroes in addressing Women’s and Children’s Health. This award is intended to honor and celebrate the heroes who go above and beyond for women and children in North Carolina.

This award provides an opportunity to recognize the accomplishments and contributions of public health professionals providing a service, program and/or practice in North Carolina.

The person making the nomination is required to be NCPHA member. However, the Super Hero nominee is not required to be a member of NCPHA. You are allowed to nominate yourself for the award, however if you self-nominate, you must provide a letter of recommendations in addition to your nomination.

The application must include:

A letter of recommendation for the award from someone other than nominee.
AND if you are nominating yourself ALSO
A digital/video statement from the Superhero that is no longer than 2 minutes or 3 slides or 3 MB long.


A 200-250-word essay by the Superhero.

Submit the required application assets through the Super Heroes Nomination Form. Be sure to have your documents ready to upload on the form. Your submission can’t be edited once it’s submitted.


Apply for the Women’s and Children’s Health Section Scholarship for Advanced Professional Training or Development. $500 is available for use as either an academic scholarship or training (including NCPHA conferences).


Award and Scholarship Winner

Women’s & Children’s Health Super Heroes Award:
Michaela Penix, MPH

Health and Wellness Resources

The following are documents and plans that are currently in place to address different aspects of health and wellness in North Carolina. While many areas of health improvement clearly impact the lives of all people, below are highlights of some of the goals and plans to specifically address the health of women and children in North Carolina.


  1. Healthy North Carolina 2030: A Path Toward Health

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS) has released Healthy North Carolina (HNC) goals at the beginning of each decade since 1990. HNC is a set of health indicators with 10-year targets designed to guide state efforts to improve health and well-being. Identifying key indicators and targets allows NC DHHS, the Division of Public Health (DPH), local health departments, and other partners across the state to work together toward shared goals. The plan includes 21 health indicators, the following have a direct connection to women’s and children’s health.

  • Short-Term Suspension Rate: Dismantle Structural Racism
  • Adverse Childhood Experiences: Improve Child Well-Being
  • Third Grade Reading Proficiency: Improve Third Grade Reading Proficiency
  • Limited Access To Healthy Foods: Improve Access to Healthy Foods
  • Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption: Reduce Overweight And Obesity
  • Teen Birth Rate: Improved Sexual Health
  • Early Prenatal Care: Improve Birth Outcomes
  • Infant Mortality Rate: Decrease Infant Mortality


  1. 2023 North Carolina State Health Improvement Plan 

The 2023 North Carolina State Health Improvement Plan (NC SHIP) describes the process and progress for improving the health of North Carolinians based upon Healthy North Carolina 2030. The plan identifies five developmental phases of the NC SHIP including development, implementation, strategic planning, monitoring, and evaluation.


  1. NC Early Childhood Action Plan: A 2024 Update on NCDHHS Activities and Local Initiatives in Four Key Areas

The 2019 North Carolina Early Childhood Action Plan (ECAP) established a vision and road map with 10 critical goals for ensuring that all North Carolina children will get a healthy start and develop to their full potential in safe and nurturing families, schools, and communities. The 2024 Update provides a snapshot of significant activities and local initiatives in the following four of the Plan’s 10 goal areas:

  • Goal 1: Healthy Babies
  • Goal 3: Food Security
  • Goal 6: Permanent Families for Children in Foster Care
  • Goal 8: High-Quality Early Learning


  1. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services 2024-2026 Strategic Plan.

This plan outlines objectives and strategies to be implemented over the next two years.

  • GOAL 2: Promote child and family well-being by making it easier for children and families to access the health care, programs, and supports they need.
    • OBJECTIVE 1: Strengthen capacity to meet the behavioral and mental health needs of North Carolina children and families.
    • OBJECTIVE 2: Reform North Carolina’s child welfare and social services systems to improve child outcomes in safety, permanency, and well-being and increase transparency and accountability.
    • OBJECTIVE 3: Improve nutrition security for children and families.
    • OBJECTIVE 4: Improve women’s health and birth outcomes.
  • GOAL 4: Build a strong and inclusive workforce that supports early learning, health, and wellness across North Carolina. This includes investigating opportunities to further build workforce pipelines, forge career pathways, and promote inclusive employment strategies that will support a workforce that is ready for our next challenge and is reflective of our communities.
    • OBJECTIVE 2: Invest in the Early Childhood workforce to expand access to high quality early care and education programs.
    • OBJECTIVE 4: Support our public health and child welfare workforce at both the state and local levels.


  1. North Carolina Child Fatality Task Force Annual Report to the Governor and General Assembly April 2024

The North Carolina Child Fatality Task Force (CFTF) is a legislative study commission that examines the causes of child death and makes recommendations to the Governor and General Assembly on how to prevent child death, prevent abuse and neglect, and support the safety and well-being of children. The 2024 Legislative Recommendations published in the CFTF Annual Report include:

  • Recurring funding for more school nurses, social workers, counselors & psychologists
  • Legislation to address addictive algorithms in social media
  • Recurring funding for the NC S.A.F.E. firearm safe storage education and awareness campaign
  • Legislation to strengthen the law addressing safe storage of firearms to protect minors
  • Recurring funding for the NC Office of Violence Prevention
  • Funding to enable Medicaid reimbursement of doula services
  • Legislation addressing Fetal & Infant Mortality Reviews (FIMRs)
  • Expansion of funding for early child care system, including subsidies


Women’s and Children’s Health Section Bylaws

Women’s and Children’s Health Section Officer Descriptions

Women’s and Children’s Health Section Newsletter, Fall 2022