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To promote early and lifelong health of children and families, we as a nation need to align measures and outcomes with our goals and visions for the future.

As the leader of the Health Resources and Services Administration Maternal and Child Health Bureau (HRSA MCHB) funded Maternal and Child Health Measurement Research Network (MCH-MRN) from 2013-2019, the CAHMI developed and led a systematic process for creating a Strategic Agenda for measurement and research priorities and gaps related to maternal, child, and family health.

Read the Maternal and Child Health Measurement Strategic Agenda

Read about our multi-step process used to create the Strategic Agenda

Learn more about the priority areas, gaps, and recommendations identified in the Strategic Agenda below.

Priority Areas for MCH Measurement


Click on the boxes below to learn more about three priority areas for improving MCH measurement identified by our National Strategic Measurement Agenda and how the CAHMI aims to address them.


Positive and Relational Child and Family Health and Protective Factors

Positive and relational health are key to whole child and family health. National well-being and health frameworks are recognizing the importance of positive and relational health, calling out the need for measures related to these key aspects of health and well-being.

The CAHMI continues to advance measurement research for positive and relational health related to:

  • Child flourishing
  • Family resilience
  • Positive childhood experiences (PCEs)
  • Healing-centered strategies to address childhood trauma and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs)
  • Parent-child connection
  • Co-regulation and biosynchrony

Community and Family Health Assessment and Engagement in Systems and Services

Community and family health and engagement were identified as key conceptual gaps in the strategic agenda. Maternal and child health researchers and experts agree that engaging families and communities in systems of care is critical to optimizing child health and wellbeing throughout the life course.

The CAHMI works to advance measurement research in these areas related to:

  • Community engagement:
    • Sense of safety
    • Sense of belonging
  • Family engagement in practice:
    • Developing measures for use in early childhood developmental services to improve family engagement


Whole Child Care and Early Childhood Development

In order to further the pediatric transformation movement, there is a need to advance a whole-child, engagement-based, actionable, integrated, and equitable measurement and data collection method to be used in well-child care services and early childhood development. The CAHMI’s Cycle of Engagement model and tools provide this and are currently being improved and refined.

Learn more about the Cycle of Engagement

Measurement Gaps & High-Level Priorities and Recommendations for Action


The National Strategic Measurement Agenda identified 8 measurement gaps and created 6 priorities and recommendations for actions to close these gaps.

M2 Gaps Priorities Recommendations


Systematic Process for Creating the Strategic Measurement Agenda


The National Strategic Measurement Agenda is the result of a multi-step process, including a yearly systematic review of existing measures used across MCH and related programs, expert interviews and continuous use of an ongoing online input tool, periodically updated environmental and literature scan on existing and emerging measurement frameworks and measures. Learn more about this process in the steps below.


1. Conducted Environmental Scan on Measurement Frameworks and Measure Sets: Collected qualitative data from a broad range of stakeholders (n=388) with expertise in MCH measurement, research, practice, programs, and policy. Data were collected through:


  1. In-depth interviews with key informants
  2. Input forms completed by MCH stakeholders at national meetings
  3. Listening sessions with state and local MCH leaders
  4. In-person meetings with MCH-MRN advisors and partners

This environmental scan identified 20 frameworks/models for assessing measurement and 12 national programs and initiatives with measure sets for review.


2. Identified a Framework for Assessing Impact: Frameworks/models were reviewed based on their relevance to guide conceptualization and measurement of MCH in the US. The CAHMI’s Quality Measurement Framework was utilized to guide the development of a 4-step measure review process for evaluating the landscape of MCH measurement and identifying gaps and assets.  This framework (below) is built around a health care system that values whole child and whole family positive health and well-being throughout the life course and places value in child health.

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3. Measurement Identification and Characterization, Compendium Creation and Gap Analysis: Using the CAHMI’s Quality Measurement Framework and the results from the environmental scan, a four-part measurement review process was taken. In reviewing and organizing these measures, the Interactive MCH Measures Compendium was created and a gaps analysis was conducted which identified measurement gaps and opportunities, informing the National Strategic Measurement Agenda.




About the MCH-MRN under CAHMI Leadership

To address the need to focus on measurement, the HRSA MCHB-funded Maternal and Child Health Measurement Research Network (MCH-MRN) was created as a multidisciplinary, collaborative network of experts who are active in the measurement of health and well-being of MCH populations across the life course. Coordinated by the Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative from 2013-2019, the purpose of the MCH-MRN is to provide a sustainable platform to inspire, support, coordinate, and advance efforts related to MCH measurement, measurement innovation, and shared accountability to improve outcomes and systems performance on behalf of the nation’s children, youth, and families. Since September 2019, the MCH-MRN has been under the leadership of Dr. Larry Kleinman of Rutgers University.


Resources and Publications from the MCH-MRN under CAHMI Leadership E-Newsletters


MCH-MRN Technical Working Groups (TWGs) Publications:

Family Health

Family Engagement

Social Determinants of Health

Positive and Relational Health

Webinars and Meetings