Last month we interviewed outgoing President Nan Streeter. In this issue, we asked Stephanie Birch to discuss her thoughts about the most pressing MCH issues that need to be addressed this year and more.
Q: As AMCHP’s incoming President, can you tell us what you are most excited about, and why?
AMCHP is in the process of establishing itself as a well recognized leader in the national public health and health reform scene. The opportunity to represent the interests of women, all children and youth and their families as an AMCHP board member and now as one of the executive leadership is very exciting. I believe AMCHP and its members have a wealth of information, data and talent to offer. I am excited to be a part of promoting AMCHP, the programs and the membership that it represents.
Q: As we embark upon a new year, what are the most pressing MCH issues that need to be addressed?
I believe that we need to focus on educating our federal and state representatives, our public health colleagues and the general public about the importance of Maternal Child Health, the primary funding for programs-Title V Block Grant, and the safety net of program support it provides. We need to translate the work that we do utilizing the MCH Title V Block Grant into examples and stories that will be understandable and meaningful to the groups mentioned above.
Secondly, I believe we need to also educate the groups I mentioned above about the difference between health reform and health care reform and the importance of public health and the health of women, children and families as a part of health reform.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish during your tenure as President?
I look forward to supporting our President, Phyllis Sloyer, in achieving the goals that she has set out for
AMCHP over the next two years. Although I am sure that my goals will be modified as a result of the outcome of events yet to come over the next two years, I hope to work towards:
1. Advocating for funding and support programs that improve health outcomes and eliminate health disparities for all women, all children and youth, and their families;
2. Collaboration of programs and funding with other agencies, including federal and non-profit, that have similar health agendas;
3. Expanding the contributions that families provide both in advocacy and in leadership; and
4. Developing an active and meaningful role for retiring maternal child health administrators and managers to continue their support of AMCHP’s strategic plan and goals.
Q: When you are not busy leading AMCHP and working in your state, what do you like to do for fun?
In my "spare time" I work as a Family Nurse Practitioner part-time at a clinic in east Anchorage who serves military families and very ethnically diverse population. I also love to hike, back pack in the back country, cross country ski, and fish for salmon and halibut. I also try and get out for a week in the summer to our family-owned bush mining camp located up by the Arctic Circle. Anything that will allow me to be outside!