Member to Member

Member states were asked to answer the following question:

Why do you come to AMCHP's Annual Conference?   

Pennsylvania 

Melita J. Jordan, CNM, MSN, APRN C
Director
Bureau of Family Health
Pennsylvania Department of Health 

As a leader in the field of maternal and child health (MCH) with a commitment to improving MCH care in this country, the Annual Conference is an opportunity to learn about innovative approaches to improving MCH care and factors impacting policy issues, networking with colleagues from across the country and sharing best practices. 
 

Texas 

Lesa R. Walker, MD, MPH
Title V Children with Special Health Care Needs Director
Manager, Systems Development, Purchased Health Services Unit
Department of State Health Services 

I attend AMCHP’s Annual Conference to gain family insights and perspectives, obtain critical national perspectives, stay attuned to the national political environment and learn directly from those who have devoted their careers and lives to serving children and families. The conference general presentations and topical break-out sessions provide invaluable take-home information and the informal face-to-face networking facilitates, strengthens, and supports ongoing interaction and information sharing throughout the year. The state Title V Directors usually capitalize on the opportunity to have Regional face-to-face meetings during the conference. I have found these meetings to be very worthwhile in facilitating Regional activities and planning. During the event I try to synthesize the information and generate specific action steps I can take in follow-up to the conference. Pin-pointing these action steps assists me when I return and helps me experience tangible conference impact and benefit.  

The AMCHP conference models active family participation through the state Family Delegates and family mentoring activities. I believe that the heart and soul of what any state Title V program does in regard to maternal and child health services is found in the voices of the children and families who need and utilize the services. The conference provides opportunities for emersion in real-life family issues as communicated by the families themselves.  

AMCHP serves as a champion for maternal and child health services. The AMCHP conference allows participants to meet and observe the AMCHP leadership in action. Fostering a collaborative relationship between state Title V Directors and program staff and AMCHP is critical in order for AMCHP to accurately assess and represent the needs of state programs and state efforts to provide services for children, including children with special health care needs, and their families.  

And finally, AMCHP provides me with a wonderful boost of energy and support. We need each other to hold ourselves accountable and to motivate us to pursue excellence for our children and their families. 
 

Washington 

Maria Nardella
Manager, Children with Special Health Care Needs Program
Washington State Department of Health, Community and Family Health 

The annual meeting is THE conference for the most current practice information on MCH issues in the nation. Even before I was the Region X Director and on the AMCHP Board, the conference was a chance to have face-to-face working meetings on cross-state committees and with technical resource centers. Every fall I’m involved in the submission of abstracts to participate in a conference presentation or panel. It’s a great opportunity to showcase the work we have going on in our state and seek suggestions from experienced peers for improvements. I also look forward to the regional break-outs to meet with colleagues from Oregon, Alaska, and Idaho and track the work they are attempting in their state programs. The networking opportunities are endless and so valuable. When my state agency allows it, it’s always exciting to plan and conduct Capitol Hill visits with state legislators. In my free time in the DC area, I always try to visit at least one new place, special event or exhibit. Last meeting, it was to participate in a simultaneous worldwide dance to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” at the Federal Plaza. I had never laughed so hard with AMCHP colleagues! This year I’m hoping to squeeze in a first time visit to the National Geographic Museum to see the Terra Cotta Warriors: Guardians of China's First Emperor.