From the President

 

A Year in Review and a New Beginning

By Phyllis J. Sloyer, RN, PhD, FAHM, FAAP

What does one say about 2009 and actually the first decade of the 21st century? 2009 certainly was a year of tremendous change and many would agree the window of health policy opportunity opened and the debate will continue in 2010. We witnessed the inauguration of a new president and I believe an increasing interest in forging much stronger partnerships among our federal agencies. The AMCHP leadership and staff have been hard at work keeping Title V at the table whether the discussion was focused on stimulus dollars for prevention, responses to H1N1, increasing attention on women’s health, the Title V connection with injury prevention and chronic disease prevention, beginning work on child health quality measures, home visiting initiatives and important work with our partners on medical homes, perinatal care, etc. I must say I can’t remember many times during the first decade of the 21st century where we had so many opportunities. 

It has also been a year where we once again didn’t see an increase in our block grant. If there is any consolation to that statement it is that most block grants saw no increase and some saw reductions. The tendency to focus on a particular issue seems to be the policy du jour. For those of us outside the beltway, the level funding of the block grant may seem like a tremendous WIN. Many of us continue to struggle with reductions in state budgets and fiscal challenges in 2010. I am sure that we will be looking for analyses of federal policy changes on our state budgets and that information will be important for AMCHP as we move into the next federal budget cycle.  

As we enter the second decade of the 21st century, we await a conclusion to the federal health policy debate and our call to action for those elements of the national health reform proposal that affect the health of women and children. We have the opportunity to color outside of our comfort zones and boxes and look at new approaches and strategies that resonate with the future landscape of maternal and child health. So, our ticket is waiting. Let’s not miss this flight. There isn’t one after it.