Supporting Leadership at the Local Level
By Kathleen Brandert, MPH, CHES
Senior Coordinator, CityMatCH
Patrick Simpson, Executive Director of CityMatCH recently stated in his “State of Urban MCH Address” at the 2008 CityMatCH Conference (Albuquerque, NM, September 20-23), “…The graying of our workforce isn’t a future problem anymore. It is here and it is real…Consider data from the most recent CityMatCH Membership Assessment: 35% of our member respondents indicated that they would retire in the next 5 years. All but a quarter plan to retire in the next 10.”
In 2007, CityMatCH received new funding – from HRSA MCHB’s MCH Training Branch – to create and implement CityLeaders: a leadership training program designed to build capacity in the emerging and mid-level leaders who will fill the spots of those on the road to retirement.
Two major components of leadership training encompass this experience. First, the MCH Leadership Competencies version 2.0, provides the backdrop for the CityLeaders skills-building curriculum. Trainings are tailored to each cohort of CityLeaders and are provided through onsite conference workshops, teleconferences, webinars, and self-instructional resource materials. The second critical component of the CityLeaders program is the Mentor/Mentee relationship. Each CityLeader is paired with a seasoned, senior leader in urban maternal and child health. This Mentor shares their experiences, challenges the emerging and mid-level leaders to think differently, and provides and intergenerational exchange of ideas and strategies.
Fourteen CityLeaders and seven Mentors participated in Year One of the program (August 2007 – February 2008). The second cohort – 10 CityLeaders and 10 Mentors – kicked off the program at the annual CityMatCH Conference in September 2008.
Though this program is a beginning, more must be done to ensure a qualified, competent urban maternal and child health workforce long into the future.