By Eileen Forlenza
President of the Board of Directors, AMCHP
I was born in the '60s, an era in American history marked by immense change and uncertainty. Civil disobedience was normalized as American culture was sculpted by unrest. Democracy was in full view. I was in kindergarten when Robert Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King were killed; I remember our neighbor sitting on his front porch crying.
My dad was an aeronautical engineer working on the Apollo missions at NASA, sending men to the moon using a slide rule and a mechanical pencil. His team was a competitive group of men determined to beat the Russian cosmonauts in the Space Race. Indeed, they did and the whole country celebrated! The pride and tenacity of the patriotism I witnessed as a child gives me strength today.
Still, as I write my final From the President column, I am mindful of the uncertainty in our midst. Change is the most predictable constant in our work! Yet, MCH champions across the country have consistently demonstrated their tenacity and commitment to women's and children's health. As president of AMCHP, the core values stated in our strategic plan have served as both my compass and my anchor. Leadership. Collaboration. Health Equity and Social Justice. Inclusion. Integrity. Excellence. These values are solid and continue to be the bedrock of AMCHP's organizational business model.
For almost 30 years, AMCHP has been the premier national organization supporting MCH professionals, partners and families in every state. Partisan politics have never stopped our progress, and AMCHP is committed to continue our great work on behalf of our members and the MCH population as a whole. Honestly, it does not matter who you voted for or if you laced up your marching boots. Your work on behalf of women, families and children – especially those with special health care needs – must go on.
I want to thank you for trusting me this past year to serve as your president. It has been a great honor and privilege. As I pass the leadership baton to incoming President Dr. Michael Warren of Tennessee, I am elated that AMCHP will be in hands of such a skilled and committed leader. The AMCHP board of directors is an exemplary group of hard-working professionals, supported by an outstanding staff at AMCHP.
My final reflection with you is inspired by a tender moment I recently had with my dad as we sat next to each other at the kitchen table reading the newspaper. The doom and gloom featured in the paper was taking its toll on me, and I could not hide my tears from him. He cradled my hand in his and gently reminded me that indeed, the United States had overcome far worse challenges than these. His inclusive and unwavering patriotism is exactly what I needed to hear to bolster my stamina. I share his wisdom and encouragement with you as a reminder that the "Greatest Generation" has passed the leadership baton to all of us. So, let's link arms and cross this bridge of hope together!
All the best,