View From Washington

Raising Awareness About Infant Mortality

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

Promoting family-centered health policy is difficult and often disappointing work. So often it seems decisions made here in the nation’s capital put the interests of political party and commerce ahead of the families that need just a little help navigating complex systems or looking for answers that only government-sponsored research can provide.

Sometimes swimming against the current, AMCHP has committed to making sure our work is guided by the families we seek to serve. In the big picture, this includes a prominent goal in our strategic plan to "increase member, family and youth participation in AMCHP planning, advocacy and programmatic activities, including volunteer leadership opportunities."

Translated into action, this means we recruit and retain at least two family representatives to serve on our Legislative and Health Care Finance Committee. This committee is charged with setting the annual AMCHP legislative agenda, recommending implementation strategies and monitoring progress. Having two seats on the committee for family representatives ensures that their voice is heard in all aspects of our advocacy work.

Just as importantly, we maintain that no one can tell a family’s story better then the family members themselves.

Therefore, we continue to support and strengthen the voice of families in our annual advocacy program supporting increased appropriations for the Title V MCH Block Grant.

Once again, we look forward to conducting a family specific advocacy training prior to the Hill Day held in conjunction with the AMCHP Annual Conference in February. We also continue to work with our Family Scholars Program to incorporate advocacy training and Capitol Hill visits into their experience. Now more than ever, we need to make sure that policymakers understand the impact of their decisions on real families!

There will always be many voices clamoring for attention in Washington, D.C. AMCHP looks forward to continuing our work in partnership with the families served by Title V programs to make sure their voice is heard.