MCH Workforce & Leadership Development: Training MCH Leaders and Planning for the Future

By the AMCHP WLD Team (Sharron Corle, Jessica Teel and Michelle Jarvis)

AMCHP has had a rewarding and fruitful year in the MCH workforce and leadership development arena!

MCH Workforce & Leadership Development – the Year in Review

New Director/Mentor Program
Some key accomplishments in 2013 included supporting the leadership development of 11 new Title V/MCH/CYSHCN directors through our New Director/ Mentor Program (NDMP) and the on-going evolution in the ways we reach out to the participants of the NDMP – increasing peer-to-peer support by arranging peer-to-peer calls and connecting new directors with resources and information by hosting quarterly webinars and posting/ publishing monthly newsletters.

Supporting Emerging MCH Leaders
AMCHP also continued to support next generation MCH leadership by working with Realityworks and Go Beyond MCH to support the Emerging MCH Graduate Student Scholarship. The winner this year, Avanthi Jayasuriya is an MPH candidate from the University of Washington. Ms. Jayasuriya was selected for demonstrating leadership involvement through academic excellence and practical experience in the field of MCH.

Succession Planning Webinar
With the support of the AMCHP Workforce and Leadership Development Committee, AMCHP hosted its first workforce webinar in July of 2013, which addressed the topic of succession planning. This webinar highlighted three successful state strategies shared by Michael Warren from the Tennessee Department of Health, Linda McElwain from the Wyoming Department of Health, and Patricia Tilley from the New Hampshire Maternal and Child Health Program. The webinar was a success - 100 percent of participants reported being satisfied with the information.

Skills-building Suite
In early September, AMCHP and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) hosted its first three-part virtual workshop titled Skills-building Suite: Evidence-based Practice: Moving along the Continuum from Selection to SustainabilityRecent years have brought an increased focus on the value and necessity of investing in programs that demonstrate evidence of producing desired outcomes. The ACA, for example, authorized funds that enabled many Title V programs to implement evidence-based programs related to key MCH issues such as home visiting and teen pregnancy. Yet, translating research to action, "taking what works and using it," remains a common challenge for MCH programs. This three-part virtual workshop was held to increase state MCH program capacity to better understand evidence-based programs, dialogue about opportunities and challenges in implementing evidence-based programs, understand complexity in fidelity and adaptation, and consider evaluation and sustainability of evidence-based programs. This event was one of the highest workforce development attended webinars with more than 230 members who expressed interest in participating!

Leading in Changing Times Series
The workforce and leadership development team developed the Leading in Changing Times Series to support broad leadership development for state Title V/MCH/CYSHCN programs and, recognizing that leadership development is a process, not an event, to support AMCHP efforts to strengthen the capacity of the MCH community to engage in the leadership process. In 2013, AMCHP held two of the three-part series blending principles of key leadership theory and real-world stories from senior MCH leaders. The two leadership conversations of the 2013 series were: Great Leaders are Great Decision-Makers: The Importance of Decisiveness presented by Karen Trierweiler from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and The Challenge of Change presented by Valerie Ricker from the Maine Center for Disease Control.

MCH Workforce & Leadership Development – the Year Ahead

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. Externally, the focus will include continuing 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.

Title V Five-Year Needs Assessment Training
To assist states or jurisdictions in preparing their assessments, AMCHP is hosting a series of virtual trainings to provide guidance on the needs assessment process. The first webinar is scheduled for Wednesday, Mar. 5 from 4-5:30 p.m. EST. This webinar will provide an overview of the needs assessment process with a presentation from Donna Petersen, ScD, MHS, CPH, Dean for the College of Public Health at the University of South Florida. Dr. Petersen will be presenting on the Nuts and Bolts of the Five Year Needs Assessment, followed by a state-in-action example from Massachusetts. The Massachusetts MCH team will share their strategies, resources and lessons learned from conducting the five-year needs assessment process. Following this webinar, AMCHP plans to provide additional training on other topics related to the needs assessment, i.e., stakeholder engagement, strategic decision making, based on input provided by webinar participants.

Leading in Changing Times Series
This year, AMCHP plans to finish the Leading in Changing Times Series with its last 45-minute leadership conversation. This last part to the series will be held in April on, Competence in Crisis: Vision and Resilience – the ability to see beyond the present. During this event Stephanie Birch, section chief, Women’s, Children’s and Family Health Division of Public Health in Anchorage, Alaska will present on the key concepts of crisis management for public health leaders, followed by her personal experience in rebuilding the Alaska MCH program.

Workforce Development Events
With continued support of the Workforce and Leadership Development Committee, AMCHP will host two workforce development focused webinars for the spring. The first webinar, on May 15 from 1-2 p.m. EST, will focus on building and retaining a resilient MCH workforce for tomorrow. The webinar will discuss the impact of several critical forces, such as full implementation of the ACA have on the knowledge and skills needed for a competent public health workforce and address the barriers and challenges many states face in creating a resilient workforce as they deal with the tensions of other challenges such as hiring freezes, layoffs, and downsizing due to budgets cuts and the ripple effects of sequestration. During this webinar, participants will hear firsthand from three states as they share their success stories on how they created a resilient workforce in order to thrive in a dynamic and challenging work environment. The second webinar, scheduled for mid-spring, will address the public health accreditation process will highlight three states who will share their lessons learned from participating in the public health accreditation process (two states that have completed the process and one state that is currently in the accreditation process).

The New Director/Mentor Program
AMCHP is excited to welcome a cohort of 10 new Title V/ MCH/CYSHCN directors to the NDMP and work with them on innovative ways to enhance leadership skills and competencies of the MCH workforce. AMCHP will continue to explore and share new and revised resources and supports for new directors – including the release of the updated Guide for Senior Managers and the launch of the New Director Alumni Network for participants in the NDMP.

Next Generation MCH Leadership
According to AMCHP member and other public health surveys, many experienced MCH staff are/will soon be retiring. Given this reality, MCH programs need to find and develop the next generation of leaders. In the coming year, AMCHP plans to reach out to young MCH professionals (45 and younger) to identify leadership development needs and preferences and use this information to develop a leadership strategy that addresses these needs.

The WLD team serves as the coordination hub for AMCHP activities in the National MCH Workforce Development Center featured on pages 3-4. We are excited to see such strong alignment between the MCHB vision for the Center, the Center’s planned scope of work, and our member needs. We truly look forward to supporting the implementation of the Center’s training and technical assistance to Title V programs in 2014.

Year in Review - Family Engagement

Family engagement continued to be a focus for AMCHP in 2013!

Family Scholars Program
Based on feedback from the 2012-2013 cohort, the Family Scholars Program continued to evolve – changes this past year included a smaller cohort of participants and the addition of an in-person meeting to kick off the program year. The kick-off meeting was very well received!

Members of the cohort have participated in monthly webinars and stretch assignments. They also attended the AMCHP Annual Conference in January, where, in addition to attending conference sessions, meeting other family leaders, and attending the post-conference family scholar day, they made visits to their elected officials on the Hill.

Family and Youth Leadership Committee
The Family and Youth Leadership Committee held monthly teleconferences to discuss and work on family engagement activities. The committee, along with the Family Scholars, submitted recommendations to the conference planning committee to support family leaders at the AMCHP conference. As a result, AMCHP provided a Family Welcome table with information and handouts about the conference and roles for families within AMCHP, as well as a daily family room where family leaders could go to connect and debrief on the day.

Look Ahead - Family Engagement

In 2014, AMCHP will put an even stronger focus on family engagement!

Supporting Family Leaders
A top priority will be developing ways to better support and connect with our Family Delegates, who are a critical part of the AMCHP membership. Family Scholars will continue to develop their leadership skills by engaging in monthly webinars and related assignments, form relationships with other family leaders and their elected officials, and look to complete the program in June. AMCHP will continue reflecting on feedback from the cohort to strengthen the depth and breadth of the program as we gear up for the 2014-2015 cohort in late summer! Over the coming year, we also will work to develop a forum for family leaders (Family Delegates and Family Scholars – alumni and current scholars) within Title V and AMCHP to connect. We also will look to highlight some family engagement best practices to help spread effective strategies to engaging families in the work of Title V programs!

Family and Youth Leadership Committee
The Family and Youth Leadership Committee plans to focus on assisting with AMCHP efforts to support and engage Family Delegates, expand awareness of the Merle McPherson Family Leadership Award, and make recommendations for engaging family leaders in AMCHP work. The committee will continue to offer support, as needed, to the Family Scholars Program and Ryan Colburn Scholarship.

Our team is excited about 2014 and look forward to working with all of you in the coming year!