By Eileen Forlenza
Twenty-six years ago I sat in the NICU of Colorado’s Children’s Hospital wondering how/if my fragile newborn baby Holly would live one more day. In the midst of the ambiguity, there was one certainty – her life was giving new purpose to my life. Indeed, Holly has enjoyed a vibrant life buoyed by our close-knit family, healthcare specialists, Medicaid waivers and most importantly, her persistence to thrive. Those 26 years of advocacy, education, lived experience and systems navigation have equipped me to serve as your incoming President of AMCHP - the first Family Leader in this role.
Quite an honor. Quite a journey.
As MCH leaders we are called to exercise sentinel leadership on behalf of a broad and diverse population of our nation’s mothers, children and their families, particularly those who are the most underserved and vulnerable. Our collective leadership will assure that we develop and invest in systems of care that are equitable, accessible, effective, relevant and sustainable. With 2016 featuring a critical national election marinated by growing apathy of the civic process, we are charged more than ever to monitor the health and well-being of the MCH population.
In 2016, we will launch AMCHP’s new strategic plan, a shared vision developed by an engaged membership and dedicated board of directors. Simply put, we will focus on four strategic goals:
1. Increase the capacity of state/territories to use evidence to drive policy and program design.
2. Develop a flexible and skilled workforce.
3. Influence the alignment of resources at federal and state levels.
4. Increase the investments in maternal and child health programs.
In addition to these four goals, I am excited to promote AMCHP’s core values – solid principles that support our vision and bind us together while holding us accountable.
3. Health Equity and Social Justice
While today’s message addresses leadership, I will feature the remaining core values in my messages to you in the Pulse Newsletters throughout 2016.
To all the parents of children with special health care needs who planted the seeds of possibility long before me, I am deeply grateful for your visionary leadership.
As your President, I am honored to link arms with you as we march over the bridge together to protect and promote the optimal health of women, children, and families. Thank you for trusting me to lead AMCHP in 2016 – I look forward to a fantastic year together!
All the best,