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 maternal and child health 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 research projects include:
- the first national quality improvement collaborative for home visiting services (HV CoIIN, Home Visiting Collaboration for Improvement and Innovation Network, US Department of Maternal and Child Health), which improved services for low-income families with young children and outcomes in child developmental surveillance and screening, maternal depression, and breastfeeding. HV CoIIN 2.0 was funded to spread these improvements to 25 states and 250 home visiting programs.
- expansion of a universal, pediatric primary care approach that addresses social determinants of health by embedding a community health worker in a team that integrates representatives from and leverages the strengths of three sectors—early childhood, legal, and health (DULCE, Developmental Understanding and Legal Collaboration for Everyone),
- cluster-randomized trial of a school-based intervention to improve children’s health and learning in public preschools in Chile, subsequently scaled up through learning collaboratives and evaluated using quasi-experimental designs in latter expansion.
- post-disaster interventions and assessments, including after the 2005 tsunami in Indonesia, the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, and the 2010 earthquake in Chile.

Dr. Arbour leads quality improvement capacity-building efforts, including curriculum development and delivery in Spanish and English with health, public health, and education professionals, paraprofessionals and students in Chile, Peru, Argentina, and more than 30 U.S. states and 2 tribal entities. She also teaches and mentors medical residents and students in clinical medicine and research.

Dr. Arbour is a primary care physician and Assistant Medical Director of the BWH Social Care team that is responsible for addressing social determinants of health in 14 primary care practices.

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

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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.