Dr. Michael Lu, associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and public health at UCLA, and lead investigator of the National Children's Study in the Los Angeles-Ventura County Study Center was recently appointed director for the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).
The Maternal and Child Health Bureau is the only governmental program responsible for ensuring the health and well-being of the entire population of women, infants, and children. The Bureau administers programs that serve nearly 40 million pregnant women, infants, children, and children with special healthcare needs each year. About 60 percent of U.S. women who give birth receive services through HRSA-supported programs. The largest of the Bureau's programs, the Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant, provides funding to every state in support of state and local efforts to improve the health of all mothers, children, and their families. Other vital missions include Universal Newborn Hearing Screening, Traumatic Brain Injury, Healthy Start, Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting, Family to Family Health Information Centers, Emergency Medical Services for Children, and Combating Autism Act Initiative. As Director of MCHB, Lu will oversee a staff of over 160 and an annual budget of $1.2 billion.
"I am looking forward to the opportunities to really do something about improving maternal and child health in our nation," said Lu. "The U.S ranks near the bottom among developed nations by most standard measures of maternal and child health. For example, we are now number 41 - not number 1, but number 41, in the world in our newborn death rate. We can do better."
Before his appointment, Lu taught obstetrics and gynecology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, and maternal and child health at the UCLA School of Public Health. He also led the NCS research at the LAVSC. The NCS is the largest, long-term observational study of children's health ever conducted in the United States and launched in L.A. County earlier this year. The NCS is a completely confidential research program that does not involve medications or treatments and that will examine the effects of environmental influences on the health and development of more than 100,000 children across the country from before birth until age 21. The goal of the study is to improve the health and well-being of children and contribute to a better understanding of the role that various factors, such as water, air quality and diet, have on health and disease.
Lu received his bachelor's degrees from Stanford University, master's degrees from UC Berkeley, medical degree from UC San Francisco, and residency training in obstetrics & gynecology from UC Irvine. He is widely recognized for his research, teaching and clinical care. He served on two Institute of Medicine Committees, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Select Panel on Preconception Care, and most recently he chaired the HHS Secretary's Advisory Committee on Infant Mortality. He has received numerous awards for his teaching, including Excellence in Teaching Awards from the Association of Professors of Gynecology and Obstetrics. Lu sees patients at the faculty group practice in obstetrics and gynecology at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, and has been selected as one of the Best Doctors in America since 2005.
The NCS in Los Angeles County is directed by the UCLA Center for Healthier Children, Families, and Communities, which is an internationally distinguished leader in child health research and policy. The UCLA-based team of scientific investigators will be joined by collaborating investigators from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, the University of Southern California, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, the Los Angeles Department of Public Health, First 5 Los Angeles County, the Ventura County Public Health Department, First 5 Ventura County, the Research Triangle Institute and the Rand Corp.