By Stephanie Birch, RNC, MPH, MS, FNP
I am always excited to start a new year. For me, it speaks to the opportunity to try things new or revisit the old. 2011 was quite a year as states’ adjusted to massive spending cuts, reorganization of health departments or MCH programs, and the implementation of several new programs, such as the maternal, infant and early child home visiting program. It was a busy year for the AMCHP staff as well. Advocacy for the Title V MCH Block Grant during a very uncertain period was a challenge. While any cuts to the block grant are not positive, the silver lining is that the reduction was not nearly what we anticipated.
What will 2012 bring? Federal spending cuts are likely to result in significant changes to programs and possible elimination. For maternal and child health and CYSHCN programs, 2012 will continue to be a challenge. I am confident we will find ways to use our skills and strengths in partnership, collaboration and creativity to continue the important work required of us. We must continue to educate our elected officials and the public about the meaningful work that is being done in each of the states and the impact that it makes on the health outcomes of women, children and their families. Leadership is what is most important during challenging times! States are fortunate to have skilled and committed MCH and CYSHCN leaders who can make a difference!
I look forward to seeing many of you at the annual AMCHP conference in the coming days.
A featured topic on influence and creating change in challenging times will offer an opportunity to look at how to view current challenges differently. Other topics include chronic disease prevention across the lifespan, working through difficult times, and a session to highlight state initiatives to promote maternal and child health.
Join me as we march forward together in 2012!