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 December 15, 2008

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Simply the Best 

By Mike R. Fraser, PhD 

I don’t know about you but I love Tina Turner. There is something about her deep, gritty, lyric, “Queen of Rock ‘n Roll” voice combined with a courageous personal narrative about overcoming adversity and making a worldwide comeback that makes her instantly attractive to me. On a recent car ride in which I was fighting holiday traffic, my traveling companions and I spent an hour blasting Tina’s Greatest Hits and singing along to… Proud MaryPrivate DancerWhat’s Love Got to Do With It?... We Don’t Need Another Hero… and The Best. We knew all the words, all the riffs, and being stuck in traffic was never so much fun. 

So, what does Tina Turner have to do with AMCHP you ask? Somehow, in the weird collection of neurotransmitters and synapses that comprise my thought process, I could not get AMCHP’s Best Practices program out of my mind after singing The Best by Tina Turner! I know it sounds crazy, but there was something about it that clicked and I have been humming the tune ever since.  Here’s the chorus: 

You’re simply the best, better than all the rest, better than anyone, anyone I’ve ever met!
I’m stuck on your heart, I hang on every word you say
Tear us apart, baby I would rather be dead. 

We have been putting a lot of work into our Best Practices Program this past year and I think that must be why it came to the top of my mind on that long car ride home. AMCHP’s Best Practice Program is a way to recognize the great work that you are doing in your programs and share those practices with colleagues and peers nationwide. AMCHP defines “best practices” as a continuum of practices, programs and policies ranging from promising to evidence-based to science-based. A best practice could focus on the health of women, adolescents, young children, families, or children with special health care needs. It could address mental health, data and assessment, financing, program integration, workforce development, emergency preparedness, family involvement, or another public health issue. Within the continuum, there is room for all kinds of your work – Best Practices can be promising good ideas and “models that work” but have not been rigorously evaluated, all the way to fully evaluated programs that have been found to be effective, are replicable, and produce desired results in a variety of settings. Regardless of the type of best practice, the goal of the program is to identify the “good,” “really good” and “best” work taking place across the country.  

Sounds good, right? Wouldn’t you love to be able to find some of the great work that is taking place nationwide and introduce some of those programs into your own practice? I know I would! Well, in the course of putting our program together, we have found one major problem: while everyone wants best practices, few people are willing to share or submit their practices for review! I think there are two main reasons for this: you are all busy and submitting a best practice is not high on the priority list, and some of you may not want to submit something to the scrutiny that comes with the review process. But have no fear – the application process is fairly straightforward and the review process is meant to be rigorous, but not mean. No one is going to call you and say you have a “Worst Practice.” No one is going to add you to the list of MCH practices NOT to try (although that might be even more instructive than the Best Practices we collect)! 

As you consider all the work that you have accomplished and all the programs you administer and support in your state and communities, there must be at least one program that is “simply the best, better than all the rest…” We’d love to learn about it, review it, and hopefully add it to our growing catalog of best practices. Please do not be shy – your submission could lead to fame and glory, a la Tina Turner, but most likely will bring you compliments and kudos from your fellow MCH professionals and the recognition of a job well done; and I think that it is definitely worth the work of submitting one. We look forward to learning from you, and sharing the great work you are doing with your peers across the country.

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Former Senator Tom Daschle To Be Next Secretary of Health and Human Services
President-elect Obama is expected to nominate Tom Daschle, the former Senate Democratic leader from South Dakota, as the next Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). Daschle had already been named to lead the transition team on health policy and in that role has begun preliminary conversations with candidates for other high-ranking posts within HHS. Daschle was a close adviser to Obama during the campaign and recently co-wrote a book calling for the creation of a "federal health board" to expand health care coverage to more Americans. Other HHS appointments will likely be made in the coming weeks, and AMCHP will continue to reach out to transition team members and newly appointed officials to share our 100 Day Agenda for MCH, AMCHP’s Principles for Health Reform, and our message on fully funding the Title V MCH Block Grant

Health Reform Continues to be a Priority
As Congress and the incoming Administration continue to move forward a dialogue on health reform, two key documents that may provide insight into the upcoming health reform debate were recently released. The report, The Health Care Delivery System: A Blueprint for Reform, released by the Center for American Progress and the Institute on Medicine as a Profession, includes chapters written by several Obama health advisors that may play key roles in the next Administration. Additionally, Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) released his blueprint for health care reform which includes an “individual responsibility” to obtain coverage, along with a proposed new federal "exchange" to help individuals acquire coverage. The Baucus plan also emphasizes new prevention efforts and an enhanced focus on quality of care. As the health care reform debate proceeds, AMCHP will continue to be a voice on the Hill for women, children and families, including those with special health care needs. 

Title V Appropriations Update
With the current FY2009 Continuing Resolution (CR) set to expire in March 6, 2009, Congress has begun to look ahead at how it will deal with nine unfinished spending bills including Labor-HHS, as well as the upcoming FY2010 appropriations. Some Democratic leaders have begun to push for an Omnibus bill, to be delivered to President-elect Obama in January for his signature. An Omnibus bill would package the remaining unfinished federal spending bills into one large measure that could be subject to a one-time vote. If completed, an Omnibus would indicate how the new administration and Congress might work together on future funding issues. The Obama administration has indicated it will look at funding legislation “line by line” as it determines recommendations, and the new Democratic controlled Congress has said it would like funding to better reflect their legislative priorities, rather than that of the current administration. In order to have something to present to the new President, Congress would have to reconvene before the January 20th inauguration, in a “lame duck” session. And with the President-elect required by law to present his FY2010 budget request by February 2, 2009, work on the new fiscal year must begin soon. AMCHP will continue to monitor the appropriations process and ask Congress to fully fund the Title V MCH Block Grant in any future appropriations.

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A Tribute to Dr. Gil Buchanan 

Children with special health care needs and the maternal and child health community lost one of our leading advocates, Dr. Gil Buchanan, who died on December 6, 2008, in Little Rock, Ark., at age 74. A pediatrician, he served as Medical Director for Children’s Medical Services, the Title V agency for CSHCN, in the Arkansas Department of Human Services, from 1979 until he retired in 2005. While serving in this capacity, he also maintained a private practice and was a partner in the Arkansas Pediatric Clinic.  

Gil was well known to AMCHP members and staff. He served as Region VI Councilor for many years, co-chaired the Children with Special Health Care Needs Committee and served on the Health Care Financing Committee. Gil joined AMCHP officers in personally greeting Hillary Rodham Clinton when the First Lady gave the keynote address at the 1998 AMCHP annual meeting. He was tireless in his work on AMCHP’s Board and frequently represented the association at national meetings, notably the MCH-Medicaid Technical Advisory Group, which enhanced the relationship and understanding between state Title V directors and state Medicaid directors. He provided advice to the Maternal and Child Health Bureau as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on various subjects affecting the lives of children with special health care needs. Gil also served as Core Faculty for 15 years to the Children with Special Health Care Needs Continuing Education Training Institute in Columbus, Ohio, a project funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau. The Institute helped prepare a new generation of leaders in state CSHCN programs from throughout the nation.

Dr. Buchanan always made time to take a call from AMCHP, fellow state Title V directors, or families. As Cathy Hess, former AMCHP Executive Director recalls, “Gil was a very sweet, committed doctor and policy advocate. He put a lot of time and energy into the AMCHP board, his regional responsibilities, the MCH Medicaid TAG, and many other national activities with us as well as AAP.” Gil will be remembered for his professionalism and advocacy on behalf of children with special health care needs and their families, but on a more personal level for his love of crossword puzzles, travel and antique collecting.  

Phyllis Sloyer, President-elect of AMCHP, recalls Gil’s passion about assuring that children received medically necessary services, the importance of EPSDT, and his desire to make sure families were first in the health care equation. An AMCHP meeting wasn’t the same without Gil’s presence. 

Gil was also active with the American Academy of Pediatrics and served as President of the Arkansas Chapter, served on the Bright Futures Guideline Review Committee, Child Health Finance Committee and others. He was also active with Easter Seals Arkansas, twice served on the Board of Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families and in 1996 received the Child Advocacy Volunteer Award from Voices for America’s Children. 

Dr. Buchanan is survived by his wife Helen, daughter Dr. Kate Mitchell and her husband Justin, and son Clay Buchanan, and seven grandchildren. Memorials may be made to Arkansas Advocates for Children and Family, Union Station, Suite 306, 1400 W. Markham, Little Rock, Arkansas 72201 or to Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church Foundation, 4823 Woodlawn, Little Rock, Arkansas 72205. Condolences may be sent to his family at: 24 Saint Johns Place, Little Rock, Arkansas 72207.

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What do you think about the concept of expanding the work of the Early Childhood Comprehensive System (ECCS) to develop a comprehensive systems approach for addressing adolescent (ages 10-24) development and well-being?

(Please Note: The intent is not to replace current systems of service but to facilitate the formation of effective working partnerships to meet all the needs of all adolescents.) Please e-mail your response to Lissa Pressfield



The Secretary's Advisory Committee on Heritable Disorders in Newborns and Children (ACHDNC) met on November 24, 2008, to outline the evidence for formal consideration for screening of Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) during newborn period. AMCHP member, Chris Kus, MD, MPH, Associate Medical Director, Division of Family Health, New York State Department of Health, serves on this Advisory Committee to represent state health agencies. The ACHDNC heard recommendations from an internal nomination and prioritization workgroup and found that the nomination of SMA might be premature for evaluation at this time as critical elements are missing for both the test characteristics (reproducibility outside an academic lab) and treatment efficacy beyond the relatively limited benefits of palliative measures. The ACHDNC also heard a preliminary report on the evaluation on the nomination of Severe Combined Immunodeficiency Disease (SCID) to the panel. AMCHP will continue to share updates from the ACHDNC through Member Briefs. Additional information about ACHDNC is available here.

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Online Registration Now Available! 
Register today online to attend AMCHP’s Annual Conference to convene on February 21-25, 2009, in Washington, DC.  

AMCHP February Board Meeting
The next AMCHP Board Meeting will be held during our Annual Conference on Saturday, February 21 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Additional information will be provided in the coming weeks. Board Members who will be attending should RSVP to Nora Lam or call (202) 775-0436. 

AMCHP Business Meeting
All members, partners and staff are invited to attend a business meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 24 from 10:15 to 11:45 a.m. during our Annual Conference.  

Submit Your Best Practice Today! — AMCHP is seeking submissions of best practices in maternal and child health from around the country. Whether it’s an effective campaign to promote breastfeeding, an outstanding nurse-family partnership, or a proven early intervention program for young children, get the word out about your best practice. AMCHP defines “best practices” as a continuum of practices, programs and policies ranging from promising to evidence-based to science-based. A best practice could focus on the health of women, adolescents, young children, families, or children with special health care needs. Best practice focus areas include preconception care, mental health, data and assessment, financing, program and system integration, workforce development, injury prevention, emergency preparedness, family involvement, or other public health issues. Contribute to AMCHP’s Innovation Station – a growing database of what is working in MCH. 

1) Click here to download a PDF of the submission form.  

2) When you are ready to submit, click here to start the survey. 

For more information on submitting best practices, please contact Darlisha Williams or call (202) 775-0436. 

Family Voices’ Gala
The Family Voices Gala will be held on Monday, February 23, 2009, in conjunction with AMCHP’s Annual Conference at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC. AMCHP members get a discounted price! $175 for AMCHP members. For more information, visit Family Voices 2009 Gala

Webcast on Combating Autism Act Initiative
The Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) will host a webcast on “An Introduction to the HRSA/MCHB Combating Autism Act Initiative (CAAI)” on January 14 from 2 to 4 p.m. (EST). MCHB will introduce the funded programs that make up the HRSA/MCHB Combating Autism Act Initiative (CAAI). Bureau representatives from the LEND program, the DBP program, the CAAI Physical Health and Behavioral Health Research Networks, and the State Demonstration grant program will discuss this new initiative. Selected projects will be highlighted in each program to illustrate plans for CAAI funding during the three-year funding cycle. A “Q&A” session will follow the presentations. To register, visit here.  

Call for Applications
The Vermont Child Health Improvement Program (VCHIP) of the University of Vermont with support from The Commonwealth Fund and the Vermont Department of Health would like to form an Improvement Partnership (IP); which is a durable regional collaboration organized within a state or other governmental geographical unit (e.g., cities, counties) focused on improving the quality of children’s healthcare using a systems approach. IPs support quality improvement in clinical and community health settings and promote policy changes at the local, state and/or regulatory level to sustain these improvements in care. Ten states/regions will be selected through an application process. Application deadline is January 15. To apply, visit here.  

Call for Proposals
Salud America! is a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) that supports research on environmental and policy solutions to the epidemic of obesity among Latino children. The program also aims to develop a network of researchers whose findings will help identify the most promising obesity-prevention strategies specifically tailored for Latino communities. The specific objectives of this call for proposals (CFP) are to: increase the skills and experience of researchers who are working to reduce and prevent obesity among Latino children; and identify the most promising policy-relevant strategies to reduce and prevent obesity among Latino children. Investigators must propose a project in one of two general areas: 1) research that has strong potential to inform policy; or 2) the evaluation of an existing policy or program, its implementation or its impact. Both research and evaluation proposals must focus on one topic from the detailed lists included in the full CFP. Application deadline is February 6, 2009. To learn more, visit here.

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General Maternal & Child Health

Family Voices Offers New Tools on Family-Centered Care 
Family-Centered Care Self-Assessment Tools are designed to increase awareness among health professionals and families about how to implement family-centered care, a key aspect of quality in health care for children, adolescents, and their families. The tools, produced by Family Voices with support from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, include a Family Tool, a Provider Tool, and a User's Guide. Each tool presents a series of questions on the 10 elements of family-centered care, the foundation of which is the partnership between families and professionals. The questions are organized into three major sections: (1) Family-Provider Partnership, (2) Care Setting Practices and Policies, and (3) Community Systems of Services and Supports. To learn more, visit here.  

Women's Health

MCH Library Releases New Resource Brief on Women’s Health 
Women's Health: Resource Brief is an electronic guide to recent resources on websites, federal offices of women's health, and other related resources for health professionals and families. The brief, produced by the MCH Library, contains links to related bibliographies, knowledge paths, and organizations developed by the library. Topics include AIDS and HIV in pregnancy, assisted reproductive technologies, breastfeeding and working mothers, depression during pregnancy, domestic violence, maternal morbidity and mortality, nutrition and physical activity for women, nutrition during pregnancy, preconception and pregnancy, and smoking and substance use during pregnancy. To download the brief, visit here

New CDC Research on Infertility
The new report, A Public Health Focus on Infertility Prevention, Detection and Management, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), examines the issue of infertility in the United States. The report found that considerable gaps and opportunities exist in surveillance, research, communication and policy development on infertility. Researchers from the CDC intend to consult with other federal agencies, professional and consumer organizations, the scientific community, the health care community, industry, and other stakeholders, and participate in the development of a national public health plan for the prevention, detection and management of infertility.  For more information, visit here

Children's Health

Children With Autism Require More Money and Time than Children With Other Chronic Diseases
According to a Maternal and Child Health Bureau study published in Pediatrics, found that U.S. children who have autism have health care needs that are more costly and time-intensive than children with other chronic ailments. The study, which surveyed almost 40,000 children with special health care needs between 2005 and 2006, found that 2,088 of those children had autism. That figure translates to about 535,000 U.S. children with autism between ages three and 17, according to the study. Parents of those children were found to be three times more likely to quit their jobs or reduce work hours to care for their children than parents of children with other chronic diseases. The study also found that these parents spend more on care for their children, are more likely to have money difficulties and spend more time arranging for care, according to the AP/Chronicle. To learn more, visit here 

New Paper on How Occupational Therapy Can Help Children Transition 
The American Occupational Therapy Association has released a short paper that discusses the important role occupational therapists can play in supporting children with disabilities and their families. With their help, these children can smoothly transition from early intervention and preschool to adult life. To download the paper, visit here.  

Adolescent Health

New Report on HIV Disparities and Youth 
The report, Understanding Disparities in the HIV Epidemic: How Social and Cultural Forces Lead to Unequal Risk for African Americans/Blacks, published by Advocates for Youth, examines how African Americans suffer from negative sexual health outcomes at greatly disproportionate rates, with young women and young men who have sex with men particularly at risk. A common misconception is that young African Americans simply are not as careful as whites in protecting their sexual and reproductive health. But a close examination of the extent of the HIV and STI epidemics and their underlying causes reveals a much more complex picture. To download the report, visit here.  

Dramatic Increase in Use of Medication for Chronic Illnesses among Teens
Prescription claims data for over 3 million privately insured children ages 5 to 19 shows dramatic increases in drug use for teens from 2002-2005 for chronic illnesses such as diabetes, obesity, hypertension, asthma, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and attention-deficit disorder (ADD). To learn more, visit here.   

Psychiatric Disorders Common Among College-age Individuals, yet Few Seek Treatment 
Psychiatric disorders appear to be common among 18- to 24-year-olds, with overall rates similar among those attending or not attending college, according to the New York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University. Almost half of college-aged individuals meet criteria for substance abuse, personality disorders or another mental health condition during a one-year period, but only one-fourth of those seek treatment. To learn more, visit here

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Public Health Practice: Evaluating the Impact of Quality Improvement
Deadline: December 16
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is committed to increasing the successful application of quality improvement (QI) methods in health departments. The University of Minnesota School of Public Health is managing this solicitation and seeks proposals from local, state, tribal and territorial health departments to evaluate and document the effects of QI efforts conducted by health departments. To learn more, visit here.  

Research Grants for Preventing Violence and Violence-Related Injury
Deadline: December 22
The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC) has announced a funding opportunity, “Research Grants for Preventing Violence and Violence-Related Injury.” This RFA addresses “Healthy People 2010” priority area(s) of injury and violence prevention and is in alignment with NCIPC performance goal(s) to conduct a targeted program of research to reduce injury-related disability. The purpose of this announcement is to expand and advance the understanding of violence, its causes and prevention strategies. To learn more, visit here.  

United Health Heroes Service Learning Grants
Deadline: January 15
Eligibility: Schools and youth-focused community centers located in the following 15 states: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Tennessee. Fund uses: To combat childhood obesity through service-learning projects that involve child volunteers. For more information, visit here

Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities Call for Proposals Released
Deadline: February 3
“Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities” is a new national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), which aims to implement healthy eating and active living initiatives for children, families and communities across the United States. The program places special emphasis on reaching children who are at highest risk for obesity on the basis of race/ethnicity, income and/or geographic location. RWJF will award approximately 60 grants to help local community partnerships nationwide increase opportunities for physical activity and improve access to affordable healthy foods for children and families. Special consideration will be given to communities in 15 states with the greatest incidence of or risk for childhood obesity (Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia). To learn more, visit here.  

Funding Available for Male Involvement in Child Maltreatment Prevention Programs
Deadline: Open
The CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control solicits research applications that will help advance knowledge of effective strategies for engaging the participation of fathers and male caregivers in evidence-based parenting programs that may prevent child maltreatment. Specific proposals are being sought to take an evidence-based parenting program (that is, a program that has been evaluated using a randomized- or quasi-experimental design with evidence of positive effects on parenting and/or child behavior outcomes) and develop systematic adaptations to the delivery structure, content, and/or materials to target father or male caregiver involvement and engagement in the program. Furthermore, the applications should seek to conduct pilot evaluations of the effects of the adapted programs on participant involvement and engagement in the program; parenting behaviors and male caregiver-child relationships; and child behavior outcomes. To learn more, visit here

Changes in Health Care Financing and Organization Funding Alert
Deadline: Open
HCFO supports policy analysis, research, evaluation and demonstration projects that provide policy leaders timely information on health care policy and financing issues. This call for proposals is intended to support projects that 1.) examine significant issues and interventions related to health care financing and organization and their effects on health care costs, quality and access; and 2.) explore or test major new ways to finance and organize health care that have the potential to improve access to more affordable and higher quality health services. To learn more, visit here.  

Health and Wellness
Deadline: Ongoing
PepsiCo Foundation’s mission in Health and Wellness is to advance and encourage healthy lifestyles and positive behavior change. Initiatives of particular interest are those which address one or more of the following focus areas: community activation, minority communities, school drop-out prevention, and health professionals. For more information, visit here.

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AMCHP is recruiting for a Senior Manager for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs
 This position is accountable for development, implementation and evaluation of program activities related to children and youth with special health care needs (CSHCN), birth defects and developmental disabilities, early childhood development and family involvement.  The Senior Program Manager will assist in the tracking, analyzing, and reporting on national and state programs impacting CSHCN, birth defects and disabilities and early childhood. The Senior Program Manager will partner with relevant federal agencies such as the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Department of Education, and other national organizations and groups concerned with CSHCN and early childhood. Additional information can be found on AMCHP’s website 

Policy Fellowships with the Society for Research in Child Development 
In both Congressional and Executive Branch placements, work as "resident scholars" at the interface of science and policy. Applicants must have a doctoral level degree in any discipline related to Child Development. Both early and mid-career doctoral level professionals of all scientific disciplines related to child development are encouraged to apply. The deadline for applications is December 15, 2008.  For more information and application instructions, visit here. 

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22nd Annual Rural Health Care Leadership Conference
January 18-21
Phoenix, AZ 

Families USAs’ Health Action 2009 Conference
January 29-31
Washington, DC  

AMCHP’s 2009 Annual ConferenceLaunching MCH: Opportunities for a New Era
February 21-25
Washington, DC 

Family Voices’ Gala – One Heart, Many Voices: The Time is Now!
February 23
Washington, DC

Eighth Annual Forum for Improving Children’s Healthcare: Thrive Together
March 9-12
Grapevine, TX

The Third International Conference on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
March 11-14
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

National WIC Association’s Annual Conference
May 24–27
Nashville, TN

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