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 Looking Ahead: What’s In Store for You and AMCHP in 2013

By The AMCHP Program Team

2013 is off to a great start for AMCHP, with many new, exciting plans and changes underway! One of the notable changes is our team has grown and we are happy to welcome new staff members to help support AMCHP strategic goals and objectives this year. A preview of what you can expect from AMCHP and how we will continue to support state Title V programs is highlighted below. Look for resources and staff expertise to support maternal health initiatives; new and evolving workforce and leadership development efforts; tools to support adolescent health, CYSHCN, and developmental disabilities; enhanced efforts to support technical assistance and capacity building across data systems within MCH programs; and continued emphasis on best practices, as well as emerging issues and top priorities within MCH.

Child Health

Over the next year, AMCHP will continue to strengthen its partnerships and capacity in supporting our members in addressing child health topics. We look forward to building on the experience with the Collaborate for Healthy Weight Initiative and will be releasing an issue brief early this year that highlights Title V efforts around healthy weight in maternal and child health populations. AMCHP and NICHQ will explore ways to further highlight this resource, such as through a webinar or other learning events, to share how state programs are working to address childhood obesity and also to connect the collaborative teams to state-level efforts as they begin to plan for sustainability of their work. AMCHP also plans to examine emerging issues and top priorities in child health and work with members and partners to identify appropriate resources and technical assistance to help further work in these areas.


In 2013, AMCHP will continue and expand its CYSHCN programming through ongoing work with peer exchanges, including a SPHARC Peer-to-Peer Exchange focusing on the role of data in building systems of care for children and youth with autism spectrum disorders, expanded programming for Title V CYSHCN directors, including webinars and workgroups. In addition to work with its Act Early systems grants, in the coming year, AMCHP will be working with CDC and the MCHB on Act Early Ambassador grants to work with the CDC ‘Learn the Signs. Act Early.’ program. AMCHP also plans to offer ongoing technical assistance via a variety of methods, including webinars from AMCHP staff and partners; structured peer support – a forum to network, share ideas and problem-solve with colleagues nationwide working on similar issues; and technical expertise and consultation – information from leading national experts in the field of ASD/DD. Through its work with the Lucile Packard Grant, in 2013, a National Stakeholders Work Group comprised of representatives from state Title V CYSHCN programs, state Medicaid agencies, provider groups, children’s hospitals, families, and others will be convened to build and reach consensus on desired capacity and performance of systems of care serving CYSHCN. The work group will provide guidance on the development of a national consensus document that outlines and describes desired capacity and performance of systems of care serving CYSHCN.

Adolescent Health

Despite turnover in staff at nearly all the participating agencies, the Building Bridges for Adolescent Sexual Health through State-Local Collaboration project continues to move forward and held its second meeting in late January 2013, where new partners from additional local agencies will join the core partners. AMCHP and NACCHO will continue working together to support the partnership, new partners in state and local school health will be engaged, and an action plan for building the capacity of School Health Advisory Councils will be outlined and implemented collaboratively, all with continued and enthusiastic support from CDC-DASH.

Following up on the Thought Leaders Roundtable on Comprehensive Systems for Adolescent Health, look for a full report on the results of the roundtable and updates on how the states have advanced their work since the gathering. Continuing the push for practical resources on advancing comprehensive systems, stay tuned for the official release of the adapted SCAT, results of the local pilot program, and information on how to share it with your local partners. To support quality improvement in implementing a comprehensive systems approach, AMCHP will convene a Comprehensive Adolescent Health Systems CoIN to support innovating states in moving their systems capacity building work forward to the next level of implementation.

In the year ahead, expect additions to the Youth Document Series, distance learning events featuring school health programs, more adolescent health programs and resources to be added to Innovation Station, and improved adolescent health pages with new resources and features on the AMCHP website. Finally, expect greater collaboration among AMCHP child and adolescent health programs, new initiatives and publications to serve members, and the same energy and enthusiasm from staff and programs!

Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities

Building on the momentum of the April 2012 meeting, AMCHP will work in partnership with CDC to create an online toolbox of resource, to be hosted on the AMCHP website. Research shows that women with disabilities or special health care needs often encounter barriers to basic clinical preventive services. This toolbox, to be launched in the spring, will contain centralized information and links to existing tools that were specifically designed to improve the receipt of clinical preventive services among women with disabilities and special health care needs. The toolbox is specifically created for maternal and child health programs and staff whose knowledge may be new about women clients with disabilities or special health care needs. Once launched, AMCHP will evaluate the use and effectiveness of the toolbox so that it will be a valuable resource to our members and MCH community.

Building on 2012 efforts to provide resources on the emerging issue of CCHD screening, AMCHP will be working with CDC and HRSA to host a meeting of state newborn screening and birth defects program representatives. The meeting will focus on the current and potential roles of these programs in screening for CCHD, and participants will identify recommendations of effective state policies and programs to implement CCHD screening programs. AMCHP will share these recommendations through resources, such as a webinar, publication, series of case studies, newsletters and other avenues.

Family Involvement

In the coming year, Family Scholars will continue to develop their leadership skills by engaging in monthly topics and stretch assignments, form relationships with other family leaders and their elected officials, and look to complete the program in June. AMCHP is excited to see how the 10-month program works for participants and to have a new group of Tile V advocates! The Family and Youth Leadership Committee plans to focus on how to orient and engage Family Delegates, increasing awareness of the Merle McPherson Family Leadership Award, and engaging family leaders on each of the AMCHP committees. The committee will continue to offer support, as needed, to the Family Scholars Program and Ryan Colburn Scholarship.

Women’s and Infant Health

Maternal Health
As we look forward into 2013, we see a clear call to work collaboratively with partners and state MCH leaders to address maternal health. We will be an active partner in the new HRSA National Maternal Health Initiative and CDC Maternal Mortality Review Initiative in the coming year. In December 2012, AMCHP was awarded funding from the Merck for Mothers U.S. Program to strengthen and enhance state maternal morbidity and mortality surveillance systems and use the data from these systems to take action in developing and implementing population-based strategies and policy change to prevent maternal death and improve maternal health outcomes. AMCHP is committed to playing a key role in the nationwide effort to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity and improve women’s health.

Data Systems Capacity Building
In 2013, we will continue to support the work of developing a set of life course indicators, funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. We will open up the process to the public to provide input on the work of the seven state teams in the summer of 2013. We anticipate the release of a final set of indicators by the fall of 2013. Our work with the preconception health indicators will continue as we implement technical assistance to states based on the findings of our previous assessments and site visits. Potential products for TA include an issue brief summarizing the assessment findings and sharing state examples, and a peer-to-peer learning network. AMCHP will continue to participate as a part of the Home Visiting Technical Assistance Coordinating Center (TACC) to provide TA to states implementing MIECHV-funded home visiting programs. Finally, we will pursue new opportunities to provide in-person epidemiologic skills-building, leadership, and data-to-action training opportunities. Offerings at the AMCHP 2013 Annual Conference included sessions on evaluation, quality improvement and moving from data to action.

Best Practices

Over the next year, AMCHP will provide technical assistance to and facilitate connections with the states that received funding for the best practices replication project. Two states will be replicating Innovation Station practices that focus on improving care and transition for CYSHCN – Montana will replicate the Rhode Island Pediatric Practice Enhancement Project and Iowa will replicate the Florida CMS Youth and Young Adult Transition program. As part of the project, AMCHP will explore ways to disseminate the successes and lessons learned to the broader MCH community, and use this information to inform and improve the next round of the technical assistance project.

AMCHP also will continue to expand on opportunities to increase the use of its best practices program as a resource and promote the value of being included in Innovation Station. One goal is to have at least one program from each state and territory accepted to Innovation Station. While we have nearly half of all the states and territories represented, AMCHP will continue targeted outreach to increase submissions and provide resources and assistance through the submission process. AMCHP highlighted current Innovation Station programs at the 2013 conference through the Best Practice Awards and forums for states to exchange how they have incorporated evidence into and improved effectiveness of their programs, especially given limited resources and budgets.

MCH Workforce & Leadership Development

Leading in Challenging Times Series

The Workforce and Leadership Development team will initiate this series to support broad leadership development for state Title V/MCH/CYSHCN programs. The series will move efforts beyond current focus at the director level to look at developing leaders at all levels of MCH agencies. The team is happy to support a paradigm shift related to what it means to be an MCH/CYSHCN leader – you do not need to hold a leadership position to be a leader! Over the coming year, the team hopes to develop strategies that support the capacity of leaders to GROW: Gain knowledge; Reach out to others: Open their world; and Walk the wisdom (implement the Blanchard and Miller leadership framework).

AMCHP Learning & Development
Internally at AMCHP, the workforce and leadership development team will support staff implementation of learning and development evidence-based practices to enhance AMCHP information dissemination, training and technical assistance efforts, and externally to continue to build the "library" of learning events to support state-level MCH workforce development and capacity building. The team also hopes to support the assessment and evaluation capacity of AMCHP through efforts, such as the forthcoming biennial Communications Assessment (look for it this spring!), and continuing to support staff capacity to use evaluation data for program assessment and improvement.

The New Director/Mentor Program
AMCHP is excited to welcome a new cohort to the New Director Mentor Program, and work on innovative ways to enhance leadership skills and competencies of the MCH workforce. AMCHP will continue to explore and share new and revised resources; this includes revising the guide for senior managers to include ACA implementation and any other necessary changes.

We look forward to working with all of you in the coming year!