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 The National MCH Workforce Development Center: Focusing on Services for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs

Dorothy Cilenti UNC.jpgBy Dorothy Cilenti
Principal Investigator and Director, National MCH Workforce Development Center, UNC Gillings School of Public Health
Amy Mullenix
Senior Collaboration Manager, National MCH Workforce Development Center
The National MCH Workforce Development Center (Center) aims to strengthen the capacity of Title V agencies to be the "go to" leaders in their states and territories for the maternal and child health population in an era of health transformation. The Center provides an integrated set of training, coaching and consultative resources to support states and territories in implementing and sustaining effective change in the context of health reform. The Center's workAmy_MULLENIX.jpg focuses on four core areas: access to care, change management, systems integration and quality improvement.

In April 2014, the Center launched its first cohort of eight states to engage intensively with the Center around a wide range of projects addressing one or more of the Center's core areas. Two of the states demonstrated a clear need or opportunity related to advancing health reform implementation to improve services for CYSHCN. Their proposed scopes of work are described here.

Colorado has engaged the Center to assist in mapping care coordination activities across multiple systems, primarily the Title V Health Care Program for Children with Special Needs (HCP), Healthy Communities (EPSDT outreach) and the Medicaid Regional Care Collaborative Organizations (RCCOs) in order to maximize existing resources and identify duplications and gaps in care coordination services. There are a significant number of Colorado children and youth with special health care needs who are eligible for all three programs. The overall goal is to make policy changes that result in a system of care coordination with clear roles and processes for state and local partners who play a role in implementing the identified programs. Colorado's partners in this effort include: Colorado Department of Health and Environment, Health Care Policy and Financing, Children's Hospital Colorado, local public health agencies, and RCCOs (Medicaid ACO collaborative).

The Minnesota project goal is to improve access to and quality of care for CYSHCN through the implementation of a comprehensive strategic plan focused on the six national core outcomes for CYSHCN. The state team has requested assistance from the Center in developing collaborative action steps to implement five of the 80 identified activities included in the strategic plan, particularly through the use of systems mapping, appropriate quality improvement tools, and change management approaches. Minnesota's partners include: Minnesota Department of Health, Family Voices of Minnesota, Minnesota Department of Education, Minnesota Department of Human Services, and Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights Center.

As participants in the first intensive cohort of the Center, Colorado, Minnesota and other state teams have met in Chapel Hill in mid-June to learn within a collaborative environment how systems integration, quality improvement and personal leadership development may help them achieve their health transformation goals and sustain long-term improvements in service delivery and outcomes for CYSHCN.

A second cohort of states will be selected to engage intensively with the Center in late summer 2014. The Center is particularly interested in working with and learning from states and territories where Title V leadership seeks to be successfully engaged in health care reform efforts and supports workforce development activities to improve health outcomes for women, children and families. More information about this opportunity will be available in July 2014.

To learn more about the Center, visit