View From Washington

Policy Highlights at this Year's Annual Conference

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

Although I’ve lived in the Washington, DC area for close to 16 years now, I still get a shiver of excitement each time I see the Capitol building, the White House, or one of our many spectacular monuments. These symbols of our democracy remind me how privileged I am to live in such an exciting city.  

As we approach the AMCHP Annual Conference, I hope you share my excitement about coming to our nation’s capital at such a critical crossroads, and - as you are able - I encourage you to begin preparing now to exercise your constitutional rights to participate in the policymaking process. 

Once again AMCHP is asking members and friends in town for our Annual Conference to make visits to elected officials on Capitol Hill to advocate for Title V MCH Block Grant funding. We need your help! Now more than ever it is vital for your elected officials to understand the needs of MCH populations in your state and how they are addressed by Title V programs.  

Especially as Members of Congress face enormous pressure to make budget cuts, they need solid information about the consequences of their decisions on the health of our MCH population. It is also crucial that we continue a dialogue with policymakers on the potential changing roles for state Title V MCH programs as implementation with health reform proceeds.  

To help you prepare, on February 1, at 3 p.m. EST we will conduct a general advocacy training teleconference and on February 2, at 3 p.m. EST we will conduct a training specifically geared to family scholars, representatives and first time advocates. Please contact Joshua Brown to register for either training. Additionally, there will be an on-site Legislative Briefing as part of the Annual Conference on Monday, February 14 from 2:45 to 4 p.m. EST. For an archive of past AMCHP Advocacy training materials, tips for scheduling meetings with your Congressional representatives, and other advocacy resources please visit our website 

Now is the time! In accordance with your state’s rules on advocacy, we recommend scheduling your appointments as soon as possible. The earlier you send your requests, the better the congressional office is able to fit you in. We ask that AMCHP conference attendees schedule their own appointments so that it fits into your travel schedule and meeting plans. While we have officially set aside time on the afternoon of Tuesday, February 15 for visits and an AMCHP Congressional Reception, we encourage members to schedule visits during any free time you might have while in Washington, DC. Once your meetings are scheduled, please let Joshua Brown on our staff know so he can make sure you receive a packet of AMCHP Advocacy materials. If you have any questions or need assistance with your scheduling, please do not hesitate to contact him at (202) 266-3042.  

Finally, I wanted to highlight one of the plenary sessions that will specifically focus on providing the latest information to help you understand where we’ve been and where we’re headed with health reform. The session, entitled “Working Together to Address Leadership Opportunities and Challenges in Implementing the Affordable Care Act” will mark almost one full year since the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. We’ll cover what have learned about implementation in the states and opportunities and challenges to improve maternal and child health. This lively and engaging session will include the perspectives of national leaders charged with implementing ACA at the local, state, and national level. Come hear from experts about how they are approaching ACA implementation and learn how ACA will impact the work of MCH professionals in the months and years to come.