By Eileen Forlenza
President of the Board, AMCHP
Integrity is the AMCHP core value I was scheduled to write about for this issue of Pulse. Honestly, after the divisive election season, I wanted to take a pass. After witnessing the heated pre- and post-election discourse, I felt that my capacity to discuss integrity was a bit tapped out.
While gathering my thoughts, I found myself thinking about people who have modeled "doing the right thing" by their decisions, actions and contributions to the world. The people I consider to have a high level of integrity are consistently able to articulate why they act in moral ways. It is clear to me that I view integrity as strong moral character anchored by a non-negotiable sense of "why."
One of my favorite YouTube videos is by a business guru named Simon Sinek, who explains that companies/organizations often fail because of their inability to answer the core question of "why?" He stresses that as leaders and managers, we are able to answer "how" and "what" because of the direct, linear nature of the explanations. However, although articulating why we do something is more important than explaining how and what, that answer is often the least clarified. His research convinces him that if organizations start their implementation planning with a well-articulated why – a goal for their actions – all other pieces of the plan will fall into place.
As the transition of power in the White House continues, AMCHP's ability to articulate our why statements will be the cornerstone of positive outcomes for the MCH population. The good news is that we have a plethora of data sources to articulate our why. Braiding our depth of evidence with the collective integrity of the MCH workforce will illuminate the positive return on investment from our funding streams. Evidence-based and -informed strategies to improve health outcomes for the MCH population are the foundation of why we do what we do. Furthermore, we have evidence to guide us away from the practices that are ineffective and/or insensitive. Public health has a gift for utilizing data at the core of our why statement.
Recently, I shared my thoughts with you via a special email message the day after the election. It is worth repeating as we get closer to the pending changes in our health protections for women and children. On Nov. 8, I wrote:
"American democracy is dynamic, and it was designed to constantly evolve. AMCHP has always remained solid through changes in leadership as our commitment to women and children is non-partisan. What makes the tapestry of AMCHP so beautiful is how our members come to this work with deep diversity of thought, experiences and solutions. Partners rely on AMCHP for guidance and expertise, knowing that the membership is steadfast in seeking that which is objectively right for the health and well-being of women and children. This has not changed, nor will it ever change. We must continue to remain strong in this role – a trusted and informed organization. AMCHP remains strong and beats a drum for vulnerable populations through partnership, advocacy and evidence. Today, just like yesterday and still tomorrow, we will continue to reflect excellence in our work on behalf of the maternal and child health population."
With integrity as our compass and evidence as our sustenance, let's link arms and cross the bridge together.