The MCH Public Health Leadership Institute (MCH PHLI) is funded by the MCHB Division of Workforce Development through a five-year cooperative agreement. Since 2012, up to 30 mid- to senior-level MCH professionals participate each year in the institute. Jessica Foster and Gretchen Hageman completed the institute in 2011-2012.
By Jessica Foster MD, MPH
CYSHCN Director, Medical Director, Bureau for Children with Medical Handicaps and Early Intervention Services, Ohio Department of Health The MCH PHLI at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is an "executive-education program" that develops leadership skills in MCH professionals by improving self-awareness and building practical skills in leadership and management. These leadership skills can easily be applied to the work place. MCH PHLI focuses on building partnerships. These partnerships are crucial to our success as MCH leaders. The partnerships and practical skills teach trainees to "advocate for and create the MCH systems of tomorrow." Even more critical to our experience, MCH PHLI introduces its participants to a dynamic group of MCH leaders who work closely together on a leadership journey throughout the year. The relationships developed during MCH PHLI will last a lifetime and will continue to influence our lives as MCH leaders now and in the future.
As a leader who was very new to public health and my role as the Ohio Title V, CYSHCN Director, MCH PHLI has become a part of the fabric of my approach to MCH leadership. During the institute, we set personal leadership goals and worked with mentors, executive coaches and, of course, our amazing MCH PHLI peer group to reach these goals. Shortly after I joined my program in Ohio, we began significant work on internal reorganization merging the Bureau for Children with Medical Handicaps with the Bureau of Early Intervention Services. The intent of the change was to improve how we address the needs of the whole child and their family consistent with the broad definition of children and youth with special health care needs leading to a more seamless system for families promoting health, as well as social, emotional and developmental well-being. The personal leadership skills, organization/change approaches and MCH systems perspective that I developed during MCH PHLI have directly informed my leadership approach to this very challenging task. Our program will require continued team building and we will work to celebrate our combined success and accomplishments, while at the same time creating an atmosphere that encourages us to study and learn from our mistakes. While much progress has been made, there is still significant work to be done related to full integration of our programs into a truly unified system. The challenge will be to keep focused on our priorities while at the same time widening our vision of how we serve Ohio CYSHCN. The leadership skills I have developed and my new connection with a cohort of talented MCH leaders and mentors will continue to influence my work and development as an MCH leader.
By Gretchen Hageman, MA
MCH Program Coordinator, Iowa Department of Public Health, Bureau of Family Health
As a new Title V leader in Iowa, the MCH PHLI provided me with structure to focus on leadership development for myself and the staff within the Bureau of Family Health – Title V program. I deliberately wanted to focus on developing my leadership skills and then, in turn, focus on developing staff leadership skills from within the bureau. MCH PHLI provided online resources, conference calls and tools that enhanced staff leadership skills – all while I continued to focus on mine.
The Iowa Title V MCH program is working on significant internal and external restructuring. The MCH restructure is focused on improving state and local partnership and identifying core services for local and state agencies to address across the life course. Iowa leadership recognized that identifying core priorities was crucial to programming. By identifying core priorities, Iowa could advance in addressing how MCH interfaces with the Accountable Care Organizations and the implementation of Iowa Medicaid Health Homes. The MCH PHLI provided me with many resources and a cadre of national experts and peer mentors to enrich my leadership approach. My experience with the MCH PHLI allowed me the opportunity to learn how to manage day-to-day tasks, as well as strengthen my ability to focus on comprehensive concepts during our bureau restructure. The restructure will continue to require
us to focus on improved state and local partnerships that focus on communication, team building and evaluation. MCH PHLI has provided me with the vital leadership skills I need and has provided me with a new network of MCH and family leaders to learn from.