Harvard Catalyst Profiles

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Mary Catherine Elizabeth Arbour, M.D.

Other Positions

Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PABA06/1995Biological Anthropology
Harvard Medical School, Boston, MAMD06/2005
Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MAMPH06/2009Clinical Effectiveness
Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Cambridge, MAImprovement Advisor08/2012Quality Improvement

Dr Arbour implements and evaluates interventions to promote child development and reduce inequities in the U.S. and abroad, using a combination of experimental, ethnographic and quality improvement methodologies. She has particular interests in methods for adapting evidence-based practices across diverse contexts and populations, and in scale.

Dr. Arbour’s expertise in continuous quality improvement methods (CQI) includes experience adapting them to a diversity of disciplines and contexts to improve clinical, public health and education outcomes. She leads integration of CQI methods in
• the US Department of Maternal and Child Health’s first national quality improvement collaborative for home visiting services (HV CoIIN, Home Visiting Collaboration for Improvement and Innovation Network), which improved home visiting services and outcomes for low-income families with young children in four topic areas: child developmental surveillance and screening, maternal depression, breastfeeding extension and family engagement.
• the adaptation and spread of Project DULCE, an intervention to address social determinants of health and improve understanding and promotion of healthy development among families with infants 0 to 6 months in pediatric clinics in 3 states,
• a community-level collaboration in New York City aimed at improving child development in two high-poverty neighborhoods
• a school-based intervention to improve children’s health and learning in public preschools in Chile (Un Buen Comienzo, A Good Start), conducted as a cluster-randomized trial in a first phase (2008-2011) and quasi-experimental design in a latter expansion (2011-present).

Dr. Arbour also conducts quality improvement capacity-building efforts, including formal curriculum development and delivery in Spanish and English with health, public health, and education professionals and paraprofessionals. Her materials, measures and methods have been used in Chile to train more than 750 health and education professionals in 30 public health clinics and 160 public preschools, and in the U.S. to train hundreds of home visitors serving 4000 low-income families through 35 participating home visiting agencies in 12 states and 2 tribal entities. She co-leads one professional development course in continuous quality improvement in Lima, Peru as a faculty for the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), and co-directs a CQI Practicum for public health practitioners for the Administration of Children and Families’ Design Options for Home Visiting Evaluation (DOHVE), in partnership with James Bell Associates and the Education Development Center.

In addition, Dr. Arbour has conducted interventions and assessments in disaster contexts, including after the tsunami in Indonesia (2005), the earthquake in Haiti (2010), and the earthquake in Chile (2010). Dr. Arbour holds a BA in Biological Anthropology from Swarthmore College, an MD from Harvard Medical School and MPH from the Harvard School of Public Health.

Challenges in Care for Children with Intellectual Disabilities in Dakar, Senegal: An Ethnographic Study
International, 09/24/18 - 02/01/21
Un Buen Comienzo: A randomized control trial of an early education and health intervention project in Santiago, Chile
Full Time, 07/04/08 - 12/15/08
An Ethnograpic Study of Obesity and Nutrition in Preschool-Aged Children in Santiago, Chile
International, 06/17/11 - 08/06/11

Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.
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PMC Citations indicate the number of times the publication was cited by articles in PubMed Central, and the Altmetric score represents citations in news articles and social media. (Note that publications are often cited in additional ways that are not shown here.) Fields are based on how the National Library of Medicine (NLM) classifies the publication's journal and might not represent the specific topic of the publication. Translation tags are based on the publication type and the MeSH terms NLM assigns to the publication. Some publications (especially newer ones and publications not in PubMed) might not yet be assigned Field or Translation tags.) Click a Field or Translation tag to filter the publications.
  1. Flood D, Douglas K, Goldberg V, Martinez B, Garcia P, Arbour M, Rohloff P. A quality improvement project using statistical process control methods for type 2 diabetes control in a resource-limited setting. Int J Qual Health Care. 2017 Aug 01; 29(4):593-601. PMID: 28486632.
    Citations: 1     Fields:    Translation:Humans
  2. Arbour M, Murray KA, Yoshikawa H, Arriet F, Moraga C, Vega MA. Emotional, physical, and social needs among 0-5-year-old children displaced by the 2010 Chilean earthquake: associated characteristics and exposures. Disasters. 2017 Apr; 41(2):365-387. PMID: 27170477.
    Citations: 2     Fields:    Translation:Humans
  3. Arbour MC, Yoshikawa H, Willett JB, Weiland C, Snow C, Mendive S, Barata MC, Trevino, E. Experimental Impacts of a Preschool Intervention in Chile on Children’s Language Outcomes: Moderation by Student Absenteeism. Journal of Evaluation for Educational Effectiveness. 2016. View Publication.
  4. Arbour MC, Yoshikawa H, Atwood S, Duran FR, Godoy F, Trevino E, Snow C. Quasi-experimental Study of a Learning Collaborative to Improve Public Preschool Quality and Children’s Language Outcomes in Chile. BMJ Quality and Safety. 2015; 11(24).
  5. Miller AC, Murray MB, Thomson DR, Arbour MC. How consistent are associations between stunting and child development? Evidence from a meta-analysis of associations between stunting and multidimensional child development in fifteen low- and middle-income countries. Public Health Nutr. 2016 06; 19(8):1339-47. PMID: 26355426.
    Citations: 19     Fields:    Translation:Humans
  6. Yoshikawa H, Leyva D, Snow CE, Treviño E, Barata MC, Weiland C, Gomez CJ, Moreno L, Rolla A, D'Sa N, Arbour MC. Experimental impacts of a teacher professional development program in Chile on preschool classroom quality and child outcomes. Dev Psychol. 2015 Mar; 51(3):309-22. PMID: 25706589.
    Citations: 4     Fields:    Translation:Humans
  7. Arbour M, Murray KA, Atwood SS, Murray M, Angel Cordero Vega M. Choosing the best child assessment instrument for a specific context: a methodology for engaging local experts applied in Chile. J Dev Behav Pediatr. 2012 Oct; 33(8):666-75. PMID: 23027141.
    Citations:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
  8. Arbour M, Murray K, Arriet F, Moraga C, Vega MC. Lessons from the Chilean earthquake: how a human rights framework facilitates disaster response. Health Hum Rights. 2011 Jul 14; 13(1):E70-81. PMID: 22772964.
    Citations:    Fields:    Translation:HumansPHPublic Health
  9. Moreno L, Treviño E, Yoshikawa H, Mendive S, Reyes J, Godoy F, Del Río F, Snow C, Leyva D, Barata C, Arbour M, Rolla A. Aftershocks of Chile's earthquake for an ongoing, large-scale experimental evaluation. Eval Rev. 2011 Apr; 35(2):103-17. PMID: 21444300.
    Citations:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
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Funded by the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences through its Clinical and Translational Science Awards Program, grant number UL1TR002541.