By Michael Warren
President of the Board of Directors, AMCHP
Greetings, AMCHP colleagues and friends!
Thanks to all of you who were able to join us last month in Kansas City for our 2017 Annual Conference. With registration approaching 900, this was by far our largest conference on record. Like always, I came home with lists of new ideas, "to-do's" and new contacts in other states to connect with. On behalf of the entire AMCHP team, thanks for making this year's Conference one of the best ever. A huge thanks goes to all those who presented a workshop or poster, served on the planning committee or worked behind the scenes to make things go so smoothly. (And of course, I'd like to give a special thanks to my AMCHP board colleagues who made their stage debut in our "Family Feud" skit, pictured below — great job!)
I distinctly remember attending my first AMCHP Conference in 2009. I had been asked by a colleague to copresent a workshop on infant mortality at the Conference — but I had never heard of AMCHP. After just a few sessions at the Conference, I remember thinking, "These are my people." I had been to many other conferences before. But never had I been surrounded by folks who were interested in exactly the things I was interested in, who were working on similar topics and who shared a passion on improving the health and well-being of children and families. From that point on, I was hooked!
I feel incredibly honored and humbled to serve you for the next year as AMCHP president. Like any new task, I am approaching this role with lots of excitement and, truth be told, a little anxiety. That anxiety is relieved by a few key factors:
- Those who have gone before me have blazed strong and enduring trails. I am grateful to stand on the shoulders of incredible MCH servant leaders like our outgoing president Eileen Forlenza. The first family leader ever to serve as the president of AMCHP, Eileen has skillfully led our board through a challenging year that included many changes to the MCH landscape. She has done so with a steadfast commitment to children and families, all while thinking strategically about the future of MCH and never failing to check in to see how we are all doing and how she could support us. We won't even start to talk about the shoes she has left behind to fill…
- We are fortunate to have an amazing team of AMCHP staff members who work tirelessly every day (and many nights!) on behalf of us and on behalf of the MCH population. They are energetic, creative, incredibly knowledgeable and fun — and we are fortunate to be able to collaborate with them as subject matter experts and guides. Like any successful team, they have an extraordinary leader — and we are all incredibly lucky to have Lori Freeman as our association's chief executive officer.
- In addition to our AMCHP staff colleagues, we have tremendous support from federal partners, including HRSA's Maternal and Child Health Bureau and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than just funders, these folks truly care about our work and about us, and you will often see them working alongside us at the AMCHP Conference or in special state and regional projects.
- Finally, there's you! As I said earlier, AMCHP feels like "my people" — like family, like home. Despite the myriad of challenges facing our profession, I find great comfort in knowing that there are folks in every state and territory who understand the importance of, and who maintain a stalwart commitment to, this work. Now more than ever, with a new administration and Congress, as well as new faces at various federal agencies, AMCHP needs you to help tell the MCH story and engage others. Together, we can build on the historic strides we have made together in improving the health of the MCH population.
It is my distinct pleasure to serve on your behalf this year as president of our association. If at any time during the year I, or any member of the board or the AMCHP team can be of assistance to you, please do not hesitate to let us know. I look forward to getting to know even more of you throughout the year and to working together to move the needle for children and families in our country.
With a grateful heart and with excitement,