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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Louise B. Kahn, RN, MSN, CPNP (University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center)
Description: This update of an introduction and overview of issues of concern to those entering the field of maternal and child health adds information about current domestic and international issues.
Purpose: It is intended as an introduction to MCH for students with some prior healthcare training. I found some of the information too general to be of much utility, but would certainly direct students to references which would fill in the specifics.
Audience: The editor, a distinguished professor in the department of maternal and child health at a university with a respected public health program, attempts with this textbook to provide a basic foundation of knowledge in maternal and child health for interdisciplinary students with some prior healthcare experience.
Features: The book covers foundations of maternal and child health, determinants of health and health services across the developmental cycle, cross-cutting issues in maternal and child health, and skills for practitioners of maternal and child health. Chapters in the topic areas are written by interdisciplinary experts in maternal and child health. The skills section, encompassing research, assessment and program planning, monitoring and evaluation, and advocacy and policy development, is helpful in answering the inevitable question, "What can I do about it?" There are few illustrations for such an engaging topic, but the graphics are easy to read and very comprehensible. Too many of the cited references in the chapters are old and should have been updated for this edition. There is new body of research on the impact of stress and racism on racial minorities in particular, which is not noted in the chapter on disparities in maternal and child health. Newer literature on protective factors — for example, the positive impact of ethnic enclaves and culture — is also limited. Finally, the book needed to place more emphasis on how to partner effectively and respectfully with community stakeholders and those who suffer the consequences of poor maternal and child health outcomes. Some case studies would have helped to demonstrate how the actual work of advocates and providers is done, rather than just discussing what should be done.
Assessment: This book provides the basic foundation, the "what" of maternal child health, and is useful as an introduction. Any student desiring to know more about the topics covered in the book will do well to use the references at the end of each chapter. This edition, with updates on oral health, environmental health, global health, and health disparities, provides some important updates from the 2005 edition.