Reflection on My Time as President of AMCHP
By Stephanie Birch, RNC, MPH, MS, FNP
What an honor it has been for me to serve as your president and represent such an outstanding association. It has been a busy and productive two years and much has been accomplished as a result of the great work that the AMCHP staff and the board are doing.
The priorities for my presidency were focused on three areas of leadership: family leadership training and the development of a clear role for family leaders in the association; strengthening the presence of adolescents in AMCHP and the development of youth leaders; and expansion of training for new Title V maternal and child health (MCH)/children and youth with special health care needs (CYSHCN) leaders, as well as expanding opportunities for new state MCH staff and MPH graduate students to participate in AMCHP and establish peer networks. So how well have we done?
Over the last two years, 23 family leaders have participated in the Family Scholars Programs. This year, the cohort includes 12 new scholars and three mentors. As a result of this robust training program, family scholars have an increased understanding of Title V, have expanded their skills in advocacy and broadened their professional network with other state leaders. Thanks to expanded funding, we also had more family delegates attend our annual AMCHP conference! The Family and Youth Leadership Committee (FYLC) has focused on expanding the role of youth on the committee and we now have youth representation on the FYLC and had youth scholars attend the AMCHP 2013 Annual Conference.
Youth involvement and training for youth leadership positions was a second priority that I identified. With the help of our talented AMCHP staff and several key state participants and leaders, we detailed a work plan that identified three strategic priorities to guide AMCHP youth involvement efforts. These include: more mindful engagement of youth in AMCHP; supporting state-level efforts to engage youth in Title V efforts; and building strategic alliances and support for youth involvement at all levels. There are many outcomes already evident as a result of this work plan, notably the inclusion of key "youth events" at the 2013 annual AMCHP conference. In addition, there has been active inclusion of youth with special health care needs in transition in two separate peer-to-peer exchanges organized by AMCHP CYSHCN staff.
Finally, leadership support and development of new Title V leaders has really taken off thanks to the work of AMCHP staff, existing Title V leaders and the planning committee. During the course of my leadership term, 18 new Title V MCH and/or CYSHCN directors participated in the AMCHP New Director Mentor Program. This program provides a bridge for new maternal and child health professionals to connect with seasoned MCH professionals and gain first-hand knowledge of Title V MCH programs and have a designated mentor for a full year. A measurement of success for this program is evidenced by the fact that one of the graduates of this program, Sam Cooper of Texas, accepted the nomination to run for president-elect for the AMCHP Board of Directors! During my tenure, AMCHP also adopted the MCH Leadership Competencies as the leadership framework. These competences guide the activities conducted in programs throughout AMCHP, as well as at our conferences and Web presentations. Finally, in effort to cultivate emerging new leaders and connect MPH students with Title V leaders and seasoned staff, we began hosting networking events at the 2012 annual conferences and continued these events at the 2013 conference!
All of this work could not have been achieved without the active participation of your AMCHP board, committee members from states and affiliated agencies, and the talented and energetic AMCHP staff. I want to thank AMCHP CEO Mike Fraser, the AMCHP board and all of the current and former AMCHP staff for their support of my priorities and my presidency. I also want to recognize the participation and tremendous work of Katherine Bradley, president-elect. While Katherine will be transitioning out of her two-year term as President-Elect, I know her contributions will be long lasting and we look forward to her ongoing participation even in her new role at Oregon Health Science University. Thank you again for your support and contributions over the last two years.