November 2010

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From the President

Prematuriy and Preconception Health

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

I generally have a few weeks to prepare remarks for this column that relate to a given topic for Pulse. Obviously, some issues are more likely to be a part of my professional sphere of responsibility while others are not. In fact my sphere of responsibility on some topics can be compared to asking a plumber to conduct complicated surgery. I have also been introduced to a lot of new jargon and acronyms which tend to evoke unsettling responses from me. So, when I received a message to prepare this month’s column, I was pleasantly surprised to understand the topic and in some respects use this to really understand what a lifespan (actually life course) approach means (one of those new terms). [read more]

From the CEO

Getting Real

By Michael R. Fraser, PhD CAE

This issue of Pulse focuses on preconception health and prematurity prevention. Those of you who spent time with us in October at the 75th Anniversary of Title V celebration know that preconception health and the life course perspective are emerging themes that will be guiding MCH work well in to the future, and rightly so. The emphasis on improving health across the life course is a logical and exciting direction for maternal and child health programs – and honestly, something that I think we have been doing for many years, by many different names. Now, however, is our chance to leverage the national interest in improving health across the lifespan and make it real for state MCH programs. Now is the time to “get real” in terms of what preconception care really means for those of you who do the work of managing and implementing MCH programs in your states and communities. [read more]


AMCHP Recognized for Outstanding Leadership and Advocacy and is the Recipient of a Director’s Award. [read more]


AMCHP Members and MCH Colleagues Join the March of Dimes in Honoring the Half a Million Infants Born too Soon During Prematurity Awareness Month

By Leslie Kowalewski
Associate State Director, March of Dimes California Chapter and Director of the Big 5 State Prematurity Initiatives 

Phyllis Williams-Thompson
National Manager, Prematurity Campaign Outreach 

November is Prematurity Awareness Month, and the March of Dimes invites AMCHP, our Prematurity Campaign alliance organization, AMCHP members and MCH colleagues to learn more about the seriousness of premature birth, donate, or create a virtual band to celebrate, honor or remember a baby in their life at the March of Dimes website – 

[read more]

Thinking Outside of the Box: Engaging Adolescents in Preconception Health

By Lissa Pressfield, MHS
Program Manager, Adolescent Health
Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs

While preconception health for adolescents may seem like a curious notion, it actually provides a new, broader framework to address a range of risks and protective factors facing adolescents that will affect present and future health, and for many, future pregnancies. Including adolescents in preconception health efforts, which have thus far predominantly focused on women, fits within the paradigm of the life course approach and challenges us to expand our reach to critical periods during adolescence. [read more]


Maternal and Child Health (MCH) & Chronic Disease (CD) Collaboration Project: To Address Gestational Diabetes and Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

By Jessica Hawkins, MPH, CHES
Senior Program Manager, Women’s & Infant Health
Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs 

AMCHP is partnering with the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors’ Women’s Health Council and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division of Reproductive Health on a MCH and Chronic Disease pilot project to address gestational diabetes and prevention of type 2 diabetes. The project has convened three state teams (Missouri, Ohio and West Virginia) that are forming state-level partnerships to foster collaboration between MCH and chronic disease programs. Each state team consists of representatives from maternal and child health, chronic disease, diabetes, MCH epidemiology and other key stakeholders. [more]


Member to Member

Member states were asked to answer the following question: 

What are two preconception health related activities that your state is planning for the upcoming year? [read more]

Success Stories

Florida’s Preconception Health Initiative

By Lindsay S. Womack
CDC/CSTE Epidemiology Fellow
MCH Practice and Analysis Unit
Bureau of Family and Community Health
Florida Department of Health, Division of Family Health Services 

William M. Sappenfield
State Maternal and Child Health Epidemiologist
Florida Department of Health, Division of Family Health Services

Kris-Tena Albers
Executive Community Health Nursing Director
Florida Department of Health, Division of Family Health Services

Florida’s preconception health efforts are the result of step wise innovation over time. Endeavors to improve maternal health began when the state recognized that birth outcomes were no longer improving. Through investigative efforts, preconception health was identified as one of the key strategies to improve the health of mothers and babies. Florida’s initiatives in preconception health are coming of age, with emphasis on both measurement and awareness. [read more] 

Missouri Team Wins for Poster Exhibit

By Jennifer Farmer
Health Educator
Bureau of Genetics and Healthy Childhood
Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services

Missouri is one of six states selected to participate in the Preconception Health for Adolescents initiative with the Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs (AMCHP). Missouri’s Team includes the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) Adolescent Health and Women’s Health Programs; Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) Family and Consumer Sciences Section; young professionals; and the Missouri Foundation for Health.

[read more] 



View from Washington

How Might the Affordable Care Act Address Prematurity?

By Brent Ewig, MHS
Director of Public Policy & Government Affairs, AMCHP     

For the past seven years our colleagues at the March of Dimes have led a Prematurity Awareness Campaign with the twin goals to 1) raise public awareness of the problems of prematurity and (2) to decrease the rate of preterm birth in the United States. Finding common cause during the health reform debate, AMCHP joined with March of Dimes and other partners to advocate for provisions that address these goals by improving access and quality of healthcare for women of childbearing age, with emphasis on investing in preventive strategies. As we mark Prematurity Awareness Day this November we have a timely opportunity to consider the provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and how they might help address this ongoing public health challenge. [read more]

Who's New

New MCH Leaders

George L. Askew, MD, a board certified pediatrician, is the senior policy advisor for Early Childhood Health and Development in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Administration for Children and Families. [read more]
Maggie Diebel – Title V Director
Director, Community and Family Health Division
Minnesota Department of Health 

Joan Bowsher – Title V Director
Acting Bureau Chief, Family and Community Health Bureau
Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services

Get Involved

Online Registration for the 2011 AMCHP & Family Voices National Conferences is Now Open!
Register today online to attend AMCHP and Family Voices National Conferences to convene on February 12-15, 2011, in Washington, DC. If you have any questions, please contact the Registration Department at (703) 964-1240, ext. 18 or e-mail

Women’s Health 2011: Call for Abstracts
Researchers are invited to submit abstracts for the Women's Health & Sex Differences Research Scientific Poster Session on current and emerging issues in women's health; including basic science, clinical, translational, behavioral, epidemiologic, disparities, and health services, for the Women’s Health 2011: 19th Annual Congress to be held on April 1-3, 2011, in Washington, DC. The deadline for abstract submissions is December 1. You will be notified about the outcome of your submission no later than January 10, 2011. [read more]

RWJF Call for Applications
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Investigator Awards in Health Policy Research program supports highly qualified individuals who propose to undertake broad studies of America’s most challenging policy issues in health and health care. Grants of up to $335,000 each are awarded to educational and other nonprofit institutions to support investigators from a variety of disciplines for innovative research projects that have national policy relevance. The deadline for applications is January 19, 2011. [read more]

CDC Call for Applications
Every year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Public Health Prevention Service (PHPS) selects 25 highly qualified individuals to become PHPS fellows at the CDC. This challenging and rewarding three-year experience at CDC (year one) and state and local health public health organizations (years two and three) provides training and experience in areas such as program management; epidemiology and surveillance; program evaluation; health communication; and emergency response. PHPS fellows engage in a variety of activities including seminars, evaluation projects, conferences, and field experiences designed to provide them with essential public health management and leadership skills. The online application deadline is February 1, 2011, for the class beginning in October 2011. [read more]

Save the Date!
Third National Summit on Preconception Health and Health Care: Improving Preconception Health in an Era of Health Reform will convene on June 13-15, 2011, in Florida. Stay tuned for more details.

Partner Spotlight 

AMCHP is pleased to share MedImmune’s resources for providers and families to optimize health outcomes for premature infants and their families.Through its advocacy group, MedImmune advocacy works to positively impact disease awareness, education, public policy and healthcare access for premature infants and their families. MedImmune Advocacy and the six regional Advocacy Managers are working to expand their national efforts to support advocacy networks focused to provide a “voice” for one of America’s most fragile patient populations. [read more]


Data and Trends

View the Data and Trends for this month's issue on Prematurity and Preconception Health here.



View and download resources on Prematurity and Preconception Health here.


Board of Directors

Meet AMCHP's Board of Directors



Meet AMCHP's staff.



More MCH Events 

WIC Food Package Evaluation Symposium  
November 30
Washington, DC

Fourth National Conference on Genomics and Public Health
December 8-10
Bethesda, MD

25th Zero to Three National Training Institute
December 9-11
Phoenix, AZ 

16th Annual MCH EPI Pre-Conference Data Skill Trainings
December 13-14
San Antonio, TX 

16th Annual CDC MCH EPI Conference
December 15-17
San Antonio, TX

Working Together to Improve Maternal and Child Health: The 2011 AMCHP and Family Voices National Conferences
February 12-15, 2011
Washington, DC

National Summit on Quality in Home Visiting Programs: Connecting Research to Policy and Practice
February 16-17
Washington, DC

AMCHP 2011 Annual Conference
February 12-15
Washington, DC