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Special Edition: Title V Technical Assistance MeetingExpand Special Edition: Title V Technical Assistance Meeting
Title V Technical Assistance Meeting

 Workforce and Leadership Development: Building MCH Capacity

By The AMCHP Workforce and Leadership Development Team and Data and Assessment Team
(Sharron Corle, Michelle Jarvis, Ki'Yonna Jones, and Jessica Teel; and Jennifer Farfalla and Krista Granger)

Leadership Development
Family Scholars Program
This year, the Family Scholars Program (FSP) cohort includes six scholars (from Alaska, California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Puerto Rico, and Tennessee) and two family mentors (from Iowa and Louisiana). Since the in-person launch of the program year in October, the cohort has participated in four virtual trainings: Policy, Advocacy, and Getting to Know and Educate Your Elected Officials; Social Media; Strengths Based Leadership; and Systems and Systems-building. New leadership topics of interest were identified by the cohort and incorporated into the curricula (topics included emotional intelligence, time management, and systems/systems mapping). The cohort came back together in January to attend the AMCHP conference and participate in a day-of-learning on Jan. 28, directly following the AMCHP Annual Conference. While in Washington, DC, all members of the cohort were able to visit their representatives in Congress.

For the remainder of the year, the cohort will continue to participate in monthly virtual trainings and related assignments that help them apply the knowledge and skills they are acquiring. The topics planned include cultural competence, parent professional partnerships and coalition building, and conflict resolution. Participants also will revise their Leadership Development Plan, the roadmap that guides their growth as leaders through the program. The program wraps up in June with a final training to discuss next steps, process their learning throughout the program, and plan for how they will be a catalyst for change in their state.
Leadership Institute for CYSHN Directors
Leadership development is a key component of the AMCHP Leadership Institute for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CYSHCN) Directors (LICD) program. In 2014, LICD members expanded their leadership skills through peer coaching and learning at an in-person meeting, peer group conference calls, and use of a listserv. Key topics discussed via the listserv included care coordination strategies, frameworks for defining types of services, and issues around financing and billing for CYSHCN programs. Each of these opportunities allowed CYSHCN directors to seek best and promising practices and advice from one another. The LICD also strengthened linkages among CYSHCN directors and other CYSHCN initiatives including the National Standards for Systems of Care for CYSHCN and Action Learning Collaboratives.

The activities described above will continue in 2015, with an increased focus on leading implementation of the National Standards for Systems of Care for CYSHCN through integration of the standards into Title V Block Grant Transformation. LICD members will once again meet in-person, peer group calls will continue, and AMCHP will unveil and disseminate CYSHCN e-learning modules developed from the topical LICD webinars. In the coming year, AMCHP will restructure and finalize a CYSHCN portal on its website, with leadership and learning resources for CYSHCN directors and their key staff.
New Director Mentor Program
We welcomed 10 new directors to the 2014 cohort of the New Director Mentor Program (NDMP). We also evaluated our 2013 NDMP cohort to assess the benefits of the changes made to the program in 2013, such as conducting the new peer-to-peer calls, hosting quarterly webinars, and posting/publishing monthly newsletter for cohort members. Based on response data from the survey, 100 percent of cohort members reported being satisfied with their participation in the program. One participant commented, "As leaders we set the tone and pave the way for work and progress in MCH. The NDMP was critical in acclimating me to my role as Title V Director. It was my primary source for orientation to the world of Title V. Moreover, the vision, leadership, and direction I was able to provide for my agency, MCH Council, and state partners would not have been as structured or "developed" without the NDMP."

Looking ahead, we are excited to announce the AMCHP staff recruitment efforts for the 2015 cohort resulted in 10 new directors applying to participate in the program. Two directors will represent the territories from American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands. This is the first time in the history of the program we will have territories participate in the New Director Mentor Program. We also had the pleasure at this year's AMCHP conference (Jan. 25, 2015) to have a diverse group of MCH professionals share their views about Tools and Skills for Enhancing MCH Leadership in Challenging Times and how the NDMP promoted leadership development and sharing best practices through mentoring. Presenters included NDMP alumni Lauri Kalanges, deputy director, Office of Family Health Services for the Virginia Department of Health and AMCHP Region III director; Ana Novais, executive director, Division of Community, Family Health & Equity, Rhode Island Department of Health; and Brenda Jones, deputy director, Office of Women's Health, Illinois Department of Human Services.

Learning More about our Next Generation of MCH Leaders
For the last few years, the public health system has been marked with volatility, ambiguity, complexity and uncertainty – things such as enduring budget cuts, deficits, hiring freezes as well as the transformative and disruptive change of the revised Title V MCH Services Block Grant. These challenges along with implementation of health reform have affected the skills and knowledge needed by the public health workforce to effectively meet the needs of children, families and communities they serve. In addition, according to a number of workforce studies, a significant portion of the public health workforce will be retiring over the next decade. This loss of experience and institutional knowledge can be devastating to public health programs. Recognizing these new realities in public health, building and retaining a resilient MCH workforce with the next generation of MCH professionals (age 45 or less) has become critically important for state programs.

In 2014, AMCHP established the Next Generation Advisory Workgroup. The purpose of the Next Generation Advisory Workgroup is to provide strategic guidance to AMCHP in how to effectively engage and support the next generation of MCH professionals. The primary efforts of the workgroup are to determine: 1) the best way to identify and reach the next generation of MCH professionals (age 45 or less); 2) services and support AMCHP as a membership association could/should offer to the next generation (to be more appealing/relevant); and 3) leadership development needs and preferences. Based on workgroup recommendations, a survey was developed and sent out in July 2014 to members who identified themselves as representing the target population. Some examples of the feedback received from the survey included next generation professionals requesting more opportunities to network with others through collaborative projects as well as the opportunity to participate in a targeted leadership development program. AMCHP acted on this feedback by hosting a Next Generation Coffee Break at the 2015 AMCHP Annual Conference. This effort resulted in a great turnout representing the "next generation" professionals as well as professionals who work with this targeted population. In 2015, AMCHP plans to continue to learn more about this population and develop a leadership development program that supports this targeted demographic.
Demonstrating Value in Title V
As budgets tighten, policymakers increasingly seek to make value-based investments in public health programs. In addition, improvements to health systems are guided by the triple aim of improving the experience of care, improving the health of populations, while reducing per capita costs for health care. AMCHP recognizes the growing interest in economic analyses for demonstrating investments in MCH programs that bring measureable returns. In order to enhance return on investment (ROI) strategies within maternal and child health, AMCHP is committed to:

  • Increasing the knowledge of cost effectiveness, cost benefit, and ROI analysis methods
  • Providing technical assistance for the development and implementation of economic analyses
  • Encouraging the communication of findings to legislative, administrative, and other MCH stakeholders
  • Sharing best practices and lesson learned regarding applied ROI methods

AMCHP is able to implement these strategies, with assistance from partner organizations, through a variety of activities. In 2014, AMCHP sponsored two trainings for return on investment at the AMCHP Annual Conference and CityMatCH Leadership and MCH Epidemiology Conference. Currently, AMCHP leads two groups focused on economic analysis: the Community of Practice for Return on Investment (CoP-ROI) and the Return on Investment Analytic Action Learning Collaborative (ROI Analytic ALC). The CoP-ROI is a peer-learning group where participants can come together and discuss their interest, experience, progress, and challenges in developing an ROI analysis of MCH programs. The ROI Analytic ALC provides targeted technical assistance to a group of state teams who aim to develop and complete an ROI analysis on one of their MCH programs within a seven-month period. Finally, AMCHP disseminates resources that increase the awareness and knowledge of economic analysis methods and provide state specific examples of the work accomplished from ROI Analytic ALC participation. Visit the AMCHP Return on Investment Web page to learn more about the ROI activities, how to get involved, and where to access valuable resources!

Quality Improvement
QI methods and tools are increasingly important to public health departments taking on public health transformation and Affordable Care Act (ACA) implementation. AMCHP is the practice partner of the National Maternal & Child Health (MCH) Workforce Development Training Center at University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health. The central goal for the MCH Workforce Development Training Center is to create a continuum of learning and engagement opportunities for state and territorial Title V practitioners to develop the competencies required of public health leaders to implement the ACA. The center focuses on QI as one of their four competency areas and has a core team of QI experts dedicated to developing trainings, technical assistance, and coaching opportunities in the field of QI. AMCHP posts current QI resources identified and reviewed by these QI experts to the AMCHP Transformation Station for the MCH workforce to access and apply to their QI projects. QI resources on Transformation Station can be accessed here  

At the 2014 Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) conference, AMCHP and CSTE convened a roundtable discussion to hear about epidemiologist experiences with QI and the challenges and barriers they face to successful QI. MCH epidemiologists are often brought into QI projects due to their experience with data, measurement and critical thinking. In December 2014, based on the needs identified through the roundtable discussion, AMCHP created a resource sheet titled Quality Improvement Resources for Epidemiologists. The resource sheet provides links to materials on QI in public health, QI measurement, MCH-specific QI training, and examples of QI initiatives at state and local health departments. These resources are designed with the epidemiologist in mind, but are helpful to all MCH public health professionals tasked with QI projects. The QI Resources for Epidemiologists sheet is available here.


Looking back, the National MCH Workforce Development Center at UNC Chapel Hill collaborated with AMCHP and several additional academic and practice partners to successfully launch Transformation Station and offered training to the Title V Workforce, students and partners. The Center's Paired Practica pilot program resulted in teams of students engaging in meaningful field placement activities in Iowa and Maryland. Eight states were supported through intensive training and consultation in four key areas of the center: access to care, quality improvement, systems integration and change management.

As the Center looks ahead, the horizon is full of promise to continue enhancing the workforce and pipeline capacity of states and territories. Increased support will be provided through expansion of products and services and an increased focus on family engagement. Unique to the Center is its focus on intensive engagement. States and territories currently have the opportunity to intensively engage with the Center by applying to Cohort 2 (application due Feb 27).  Cohort 2 state and territory teams will actively participate in Center training and implementation of their planned projects from April through December 2015. Each cohort 2 team will be assigned a Center Coach who will serve as the primary liaison with the Center and as a broker of all Center trainings, tools, peer mentors, and technical expertise for the state/territory. Opportunities to participate in ongoing, online Communities of Practice with other states and territories to share knowledge, ideas and problem-solve with peers will be provided during and after active engagement with the Center. The Center will continue to evaluate how enhanced workforce capacity is helping Title V improve the lives of women and children.