The Importance of Sharing Emerging, Promising and Best Practices with the MCH Community
By Darlisha Williams, MPH
Senior Program Manager, MCH Epidemiology & Best Practices, AMCHP
As AMCHP staff, one of the most common questions we are asked by both members and partners is: “Are there any promising programs out there relating to X?” Indeed AMCHP members are eager to learn from other states and hear about challenges and lessons learned from their peers. Given limited resources and time, there is a great need to maximize and build on existing knowledge so that one is not constantly “re-creating the wheel.” It is this often stated need to know more which forms the underlying basis of AMCHP’s Best Practices program. We all recognize that there are fantastic public health programs that engage their target audience and lead to positive behavioral change. We also acknowledge the power and usefulness of sharing this information with each other. However, the question then remains: How can we effectively and efficiently capture this valuable information in one place and provide a much needed resource, not only for AMCHP members, but also for the greater MCH community?
In the fall of 2009, in an attempt to answer this question and better serve its members, AMCHP launched the Innovation Station, a searchable, online database of programs that work. The purpose of this database is to serve as a resource and repository of emerging, promising and best practices in maternal and child health. Since 2006, the best practice review panel (a diverse panel of public health experts) has reviewed 56 submissions and 34 of those programs have been included in the Innovation Station database. These programs address a variety of important public health topics such as obesity, perinatal health, transition among children and youth with special healthcare needs and infant mortality to name a few. The programs also have a range in terms of their level of development. Some are in the initial stages of development with preliminary results and others are more developed and have evaluation results demonstrating positive outcomes. This is a growing database and AMCHP continues to seek submissions from programs that are doing great work to improve the health of women, children and families.
Ultimately, AMCHP hopes to have all states and territories represented in the database in order to highlight and disseminate the innovative work that is happening nationally and foster peer-to-peer sharing of public health information. As the database continues to grow, it has the potential of being a powerful resource to learn about what other states are doing and to network with people working on the same topics. However, the value of this resource depends on contributions from the public health community. I’m sure that you are doing something in your state that you are proud of, which has some preliminary evaluation data that you would like to share with other Title V programs. On behalf of AMCHP, I encourage you to think about the work that you do and the impact your programs have on your communities and share those lessons learned and successes with your peers. By sharing this important information, we can all build on our collective knowledge and demonstrate how essential MCH programs are to the people we serve. If you are not sure whether your practice qualifies as an emerging, promising or best practice, give us a call and we would be happy to discuss your work.
Top three reasons to contribute to Innovation Station
1. By submitting your work, you may be eligible to receive an award and a complimentary registration to AMCHP’s annual conference!
2. Highlight the importance of supporting Title V programs by demonstrating the impact of your program on communities
3. Share your exciting work with your peers and contribute to peer-to-peer exchange of knowledge
Is your state represented in the Innovation Station database? Visit the data and trends section of this issue to view the states that are represented in the database! If you would like to be considered for inclusion in the Innovation Station database, please visit here to access more information about the best practice submission process or contact Kate Howe.