Timeline & History

Infograph MCH historyBigThe Center for Leadership Education in Maternal and Child Public Health


1954: The University of Minnesota’s Center for Leadership Education in Maternal and Child Public Health was funded by the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)/Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB). Dr. Ruth Boynton, after whom the University’s Health Service is named, served as the Center’s first steward

1956: Dr. Helen Wallace, the matriarch of MCH programs, joined the School for three years.

1959: Dr. Allyn Bridge from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), joined the School to head the training grant. A pediatrician, Bridge developed ties with the Department of Pediatrics and their clinical services, making the program more available to medical residents. A Children’s Bureau grant also provided faculty positions in nutrition, social work and nursing, expanding the School’s resources in all those areas.

1970s: Dr. Robert W. ten Bensel became the Center director, using the program to build bridges to community agencies. His prodigious energy and ability to speak effectively and persuasively made him one of the School’s most effective ambassadors for child welfare.

1990s: Dr. Joan Patterson, a child psychologist, became the Center’s director after Dr. ten Bensel’s retirement. Dr. Patterson succeeded in developing many professional education materials for individuals interested in early childhood mental health and children and youth with special health care needs. With Dr. Wendy Hellerstedt, she also established the Center’s professional publication, Healthy Generations.

2006: Dr. Wendy Hellerstedt, a reproductive health epidemiologist, became Center Director. She has focused on expanding the Center’s professional education collaborations with University and community partners, and developing the Center’s social media and web presence.

2014: The Center turns sixty, marking six decades of maternal and child health.

2015: The Center is renewed by HRSA for 5 additional years. The Center celebrates 15 years of publishing Healthy Generations.

2017: Dr. Hellerstedt retires from the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health. Dr. Jamie Stang becomes principal investigator of the Center, one of thirteen Centers of Excellence (COE) in MCH Education, Science and Practice funded by the MCH Bureau. Dr. Ellen Demerath becomes chair of the MPH Program.