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 August 2, 2010

Summer Vacation? 

When I was a kid I cherished summer vacation – day camp, overnight camp, long days, short nights, cousins coming over to play, family visiting, swimming, bike riding, BBQs, and of course no school! I still do cherish summer but it seems like this year we have another activity to add to our list of summertime fun – grant writing!  

I know most of you are somehow involved in writing your Title V MCH Services Block Grant application every summer and if that wasn’t enough this year states have several new opportunities to pursue. But somehow grant writing doesn’t have the same fun quotient as roasting marshmallows over the campfire or playing “ghost in the graveyard” with the neighborhood kids until the fireflies come out and cicadas stop their chirping. And yes, it really does stink to cancel or change your summer vacation plans to stay inside and work on the computer on a nice hot summer day even if it is a wonderful opportunity to build your state’s MCH capacity and apply for new resources to improve the health of your state’s women, children, fathers and families. 

Can grant writing really be fun, or at least creative? I think it can. Like creative writing, grant writing involves telling a story. In a story there is the plot (goals and objectives), characters (personnel), and action (activities and tactics). There are barriers and hurdles to overcome (organizational and community challenges) and opportunities and achievements to celebrate (success factors, outcome evaluations). Imagine your grant application as a summer blockbuster – lines around the corner to the box office with fans waiting to see how the story ends. Who knows maybe next year you’ll even write a sequel! 

So, if you are feeling worn down from all the grant writing and planning you have been doing over the past few months please be sure to take some time to enjoy what bits of summer you can and realize you are not alone. Practically every state MCH professional I have met with this summer, and many of us who write grants for our own organizations, are truly overwhelmed by the announcements, guidelines, requests for comments, and funding opportunity announcements. But as I tell our staff here and I have heard many of you say in your own agencies, this is a good problem to have. With new resources for MCH comes some work, but the work is why we are here. The home visitation, teen pregnancy prevention, and other new grant opportunities out now are tremendous opportunities to leverage, connect, and build MCH systems in your state. While timing is everything, timing is never perfect. I hope you are as excited as I am to see the fruits of your labor – improved MCH outcomes in your state – even when filling out one more form or copy and pasting one page seems like it will absolutely kill you. Besides, you can always take your laptop to the beach. Just don’t get sand in your keyboard.

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Clarification Regarding HHS Funding Opportunity Announcements for PREP and Ab-Ed On July 30 the U.S Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released two Funding Opportunity Announcements for the new State Personal Responsibility Education Program and the continued State Abstinence Education Grant Program.  The full announcements are available here:

State Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP) 

State Abstinence Education Grant Program 

Last Friday we erroneously reported that states have until August 30 to submit letters of intent on whether they will be applying for monies from each program.  In actuality the August 30 requirements are for abbreviated applications.  There are nine components for a PREP application, with an abbreviated program narrative not to exceed 10 pages double spaced.  The Abstinence Education Grant Program requires a seven part abbreviated application with an abbreviated program narrative not to exceed five pages.  A full summary of the application process is posted here.  AMCHP regrets any confusion caused by our initial report.  States will then have until December 10 to submit full “post award state plans” for the Abstinence Education Grant Program and until February 1, 2011 for the PREP program.  

Affordable Care Act Implementation
Having trouble keeping up with the many moving pieces of health reform? You are not alone! The best centralized source for official announcements from the administration is Below are brief summaries of recent developments of interest to MCH programs. As always, please contact Michelle Alletto, Associate Director for Policy and Government Affairs or Brent Ewig, Director of Policy & Government Affairs at (202) 775-0436 if we can be of assistance. 

Recent Grant Announcements from HHS include: 

·         $51 Million in Resources for States to Build New Competitive Health Insurance Marketplace: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) last week announced two key steps in the process of partnering with states and other stakeholders to begin establishing health insurance exchanges. Read the full press release here.

·         $2.25 Billion for Money Follows the Person: A new grant solicitation issued July 26 by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) encourages states not yet part of the Money Follows the Person Rebalancing (MFP) Demonstration to apply for grant funds and makes available $2.25 billion in grants to states. States already participating in the demonstration are afforded the opportunity to expand and extend their MFP grant program. Additional information is available here. On August 11, from 2 to 4 p.m. EDT, CMS will facilitate a national call for all interested MFP demonstration applicants. Beginning in September, CMS will offer a series of technical assistance calls and training webinars to provide instruction to states on grant application development.

·         Family to Family Health Information Center Grants Released: On July 27, HHS announced $4.9 million in grants to continue support for 51 Family-to-Family Health Information Centers in each state and the District of Columbia. The press release can be found at here and the list of awardees here. Created in 2005, the centers are state-wide, family-run organizations that provide information, education, training, outreach, and peer support to families of children and youth with special health care needs and the professionals who serve them. Funding for the centers was extended through 2012 by the Affordable Care Act. AMCHP appreciates the leadership of our colleagues at Family Voices to restore this vital program.

·         Home Visiting Grant Awards: On July 21 HHS announced the award of $88 million in grants, provided under the Affordable Care Act, to support evidence-based home visiting programs through the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program. More information here.

·         School-Based Health Center Funding Postponed: Our colleagues at the National Assembly for School Based Health Care (NASBHC) report that HRSA has cancelled the FY 2010 School Based Health Center Equipment (HRSA-10-276) funding opportunity. According to HRSA, this cancellation is in response to the high volume of questions they received from the SBHC field concerning the application criteria, the cap for multi-site school-based health centers, and the limited application development time. HRSA will reportedly release new guidance for the funding opportunity in September. The funding opportunity in September is anticipated be for $100 million and will include both equipment and construction. For additional information and updates, see the NASBHC site here.  

Proposed Regulations 

Evidence of Effectiveness of Home Visiting Program Models
HHS is soliciting comments by August 17 on proposed criteria for evidence of effectiveness of home visiting program models for pregnant women, expectant fathers, and primary caregivers of children birth through kindergarten entry. Final criteria for evidence of effectiveness will be included in the program announcement inviting eligible entities to apply for funding under the Affordable Care Act Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program. AMCHP is seeking input from members now and will be submitting comments. A copy of the proposed criteria is here 

Additional regulations of interest include:

·         Regulation on Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (Issued by the Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight)

·         Request for Comment on Health Insurance Exchanges (Issued by the Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight)

·         Regulation on Consumers' Right to Appeal Health Plan Decisions (Issued by the Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight)

·         Preventive Services: Regulations and Recommendations

·         Patient’s Bill of Rights (Issued by the Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight)

·         Regulation on “Grandfathered” Health Plans under the Affordable Care Act (Issued by the Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight)

·         Dependent Coverage of Children Who Have Not Attained Age 26 (Issued by the Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight)


Tracking New MCH Legislation 
AMCHP continues to monitor legislation introduced in Congress addressing MCH. There are two recent bills of note:  

  • Nationally Enhancing the Wellbeing of Babies through Outreach and Research Now Act or the NEWBORN Act (H.R. 3470 - Introduced by Rep. Cohen D-TN). Requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), acting through the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to award grants to eligible entities to create, implement, and oversee infant mortality pilot programs. Sets forth uses of grant funds, which may include: (1) providing outreach to at-risk mothers; (2) developing and implementing standardized systems for improved access, utilization, and quality of services to promote healthy pregnancies, full-term births, and healthy infancies delivered to women and their infants; and (3) establishing a regional public education campaign. In awarding grants, the Secretary shall give preference to eligible entities proposing to serve any of the 15 counties or groups of counties with the highest rates of infant mortality in the United States in the past 3 years. Authorizes $10 million in funding. Full text available here. Status – Passed the Health Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on July 22.

·       The Maximizing Optimal Maternity Services for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 5807 – Introduced by Rep. Roybal-Allard D-CA). Creates a national focus on maternity care by establishing an Interagency Coordinating Committee charged with promoting medical practices proven to provide the healthiest results for mothers and babies. The legislation authorizes a public awareness media campaign to educate the public about the best proven maternity care practices. The legislation expands federal research on best maternity practices. The bill also authorizes data collection to pinpoint specific geographic areas of the country that lack maternity care providers. Finally, the measure puts in place a concerted effort to create a more culturally diverse and interdisciplinary maternity care workforce. It establishes loan repayment programs for providers in maternity care shortage areas. It authorizes grant programs for maternity professional organizations to recruit and retain minority providers. It also calls for the development of core curricula across maternity professional disciplines to better ensure that providers are better trained and able to inform patients about all of their maternity care options. Status – Introduced July 21.  

The AMCHP Legislative and Health Care Finance Committee is providing guidance in this area. Additional legislation addressing maternal health is expected to be induced soon – watch this space for additional updates.

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AMCHP/Family Voices Call for Presentations
The 2011 Annual Conference of the Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs (AMCHP) will take place February 12-15, 2011, at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC. The conference will be co-located with the Family Voices National Conference (February 13-15, 2011), with the shared theme of Working Together to Improve Maternal and Child Health: The 2011 AMCHP and Family Voices National Conferences. The AMCHP and Family Voices co-located conferences are the ideal venues to present your ideas, research, innovative programming, best practices and effective outreach strategies to MCH and other public health practitioners, family leaders, researchers, federal officials, advocates, healthcare providers and directors of state programs. Click here for complete information about submitting your proposal and for the online submission system. Through this system you can submit a session proposal for the AMCHP conference, the Family Voices conference, or a shared session period to reach both audiences. The deadline for session proposal submissions is August 23, 2010. You will be notified about the outcome of your submission by October 15, 2010. If you have questions about the session proposal submission process, please contact Colleen Campbell or call (703) 964-1240, ext. 16. 

AMCHP to Host a Webinar on Best Practices
The webinar, “Best Practices 101: AMCHP’s Approach to Collecting, Highlighting and Disseminating Effective Programs in Maternal and Child Health,” will occur on Wednesday, August 4 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. EST. The purpose of this webinar is to provide an overview of AMCHP’s Best Practices program including how the organization defines the term “best practice,” the criteria that are used to categorize emerging, promising and best practices, and the submission and review process. The presenter will also discuss the Innovation Station, AMCHP’s online database of effective programs. If you’ve ever been curious about AMCHP’s work on Best Practices, or wondered whether your project was eligible for submission, please click here to register and join this exciting and interactive webinar. For more information, please contact Darlisha Williams 

Call for Nominations
In an effort to bring more attention to the individuals who work on disease control and prevention efforts each day, the Campaign for Public Health Foundation is calling for nominations to recognize two "unsung heroes" from the ranks of our nation's public health community. A distinguished selection committee will select two nominees in late August. One award recognizes large national or international efforts while the second targets work done by small community-based public health programs. Both awards will be presented to individuals that have not received national attention for their work in the past and who have solid outcomes data showing the impact of their program. Awards will be presented at an event in Washington, DC on November 18, 2010. All nominations must be received by August 16. To learn more, visit here.

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General Maternal & Child Health  

New Hampshire Center for Medical Home Improvement to Run National Health Care Transition Center for Youth with Special Health Care Needs
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Maternal and Child Health Bureau has awarded the Center for Medical Home Improvement (CMHI) $1.35 million over three years to create and operate the National Health Care Transition Center for Youth with Special Health Care Needs. The project will assure that youth with special health care needs are prepared for their transition from pediatric to adult health care and that they experience a smooth and seamless transfer of care from pediatric primary care and specialty care to adult settings. For more information on the medical home and practice transformation, download the CMHI, Crotched Mountain Foundation’s press release.

AMCHP’s State Public Health Autism Resource Center (SPHARC)
SPHARC is a comprehensive website for states to learn about autism activities and resources, share promising practices, gain expert insight, link to federal and national partners and follow Combating Autism Awareness Initiative activities. SPHARC serves as a means to facilitate communication among states to learn from successes and challenges as states develop state autism plans and work to strengthen services for children, youth and families with Autism Spectrum Disorders and developmental disabilities. In addition, SPHARC holds technical assistance calls on subjects such as financing of care, care coordination, cultural competency, family-centered care, medical home, health information technology and transition. Each technical assistance call is recorded and made available on the SPHARC website.

Adolescent Health  

MCH Library Launches New Edition of Adolescent Knowledge Path
The knowledge path, “Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention: Knowledge Path,” published by the MCH Library at Georgetown University, is an electronic guide to resources that measure, document and monitor adolescent pregnancy; identify risk and protective factors; and report on promising intervention strategies. The knowledge path is intended for use by health and social service professionals, policymakers, and researchers. To learn more, visit here 

New Report on Young People with Disabilities
The report, “Paving the Way: Meeting Transition Needs of Young People with Developmental Disabilities and Serious Mental Health Conditions,” produced by the Research and Training Center on Family Support and Children's Mental Health at Portland State University, presents findings on best practices for transition to adulthood services for young people ages 16 to 24 who are dually eligible for mental health and developmental disability services. Contents include background on definitions, prevalence of dual eligibles, challenges, and recommended approaches; eight case studies of programs providing services; and six descriptions of specific best practices. The programs featured in the report include a school-based transition program; outpatient mental health services; an employment-preparation program; programs supporting youth transitions from restrictive environments to community settings; system-level crisis-prevention and intervention planning; and system-level planning and consultation. To download the report, visit here 

New Report on the Importance of Place to the Health of Boys of Color
The report, “Healthy Communities Matter: The Importance of Place to the Health of Boys of Color,” produced with the collective research efforts of the RAND Corporation, PolicyLink, The Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at Harvard Law School, and the Center for Nonviolence and Social Justice at Drexel University, examines health disparities among boys and young men and elucidates the ways that increasing social inequality and negative neighborhood conditions converge and help determine the life course for boys and young men of color who attend schools and live in communities of concentrated disadvantage. Topics include concentrated poverty, schooling, and neighborhoods; community violence; lack of healthy food and abundance of unhealthy food; asthma's unequal effects; the built environment and mental health; exclusionary discipline; and incarceration's impact on community health and prosperity. Policy recommendations, case studies, and promising programs are also discussed. To download the executive summary, visit here 

New Study on Cigarette Use Among High School Students
The report, “Cigarette Use Among High School Students — United States, 1991–2009,” published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, describes results of CDC's 2010 analysis of the Youth Risk Behavior Survey data during the period 1991-2009 for three measures: ever smoked cigarettes, current cigarette use, and current frequent cigarette use. For current cigarette use, trend analyses were conducted by sex, race-ethnicity, and grade in school. To download the report, visit here.

Women's Health 

Office of Women’s Health Releases Women’s Health and Mortality Chartbook
The chartbook, “Women's Health and Mortality Chartbook,” published by the Department of Health and Human Services' Office on Women's Health, provides current statistical information on women's health, and data for each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Each state summary features data collected for 27 health indicators focusing on critical issues related to women's health. To learn more, visit here.

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AMCHP CEO Mike Fraser presented a session “Investing in Children’s Health” at the National Conference of State Legislature’s recent Legislative Summit 2010 in Louisville, KY. The session, one of over 150 issue forums, focused on investments in prevention and health care for children that can save states money, including promising practices or comprehensive approaches that coordinate programs and services. The session also provided information on the value of investing in children’s health in tough budget times, opportunities for states within health reform, and how legislatures can create or promote more effective and efficient services and programs for children. 


AMCHP Program Manager of Family Involvement Job Opportunity
This 50 percent part-time position supports and assists the Associate Director for Workforce and Leadership Development, Family Involvement in the development, implementation and evaluation of program activities related to family involvement and leadership development. The Program Manager will also assist in implementing project activities related to children and youth with special health care needs (CYSHCN) impacting CYSHCN, birth defects and disabilities and early childhood. To learn more about this open position, visit AMCHP’s Career Center. 

AMCHP Senior Epidemiologist Job Opportunity
AMCHP is seeking a Senior Epidemiologist to be accountable for the development and implementation of program activities related to maternal and child health data and assessment. The Senior Epidemiologist, a member of the Women’s and Infant Health team, develops and maintains partnerships with relevant federal agencies, funders, and other national organizations, coalitions and groups concerned with MCH epidemiology. For more information about this open position, visit AMCHP’s Career Center. 

Australian-American Health Policy Fellowship
On behalf of the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing, The Commonwealth Fund is pleased to announce the 2011-12 Australian-American Health Policy Fellowship. The Australian-American Health Policy Fellowship offers a unique opportunity for outstanding, mid-career U.S. professionals—academics, government officials, clinical leaders, decision-makers in managed care and other private health care organizations, and journalists—to spend up to 10 months in Australia conducting research and working with leading Australian health policy experts on issues relevant to both countries. The Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing hopes to enrich health policy thinking as fellows study how Australia approaches health policy issues, share lessons learned from the United States, and develop an international perspective and network of contacts to facilitate exchange and collaboration that extends beyond the fellowship experience. The deadline for applications is August 15. For further information on the 2011-12 Australian-American Health Policy Fellowships and to obtain an application, visit here 

RWJF Scholars in Health Policy Research Program Fellowship Opportunities
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Scholars in Health Policy Research program is looking for up to nine highly qualified individuals for two-year fellowships at one of three nationally prominent universities with the expectation that they will make important research contributions to future U.S. health policy. The program seeks recent graduates of doctoral programs in economics, political science and sociology, including junior faculty, to apply. The program will give preference to applicants who have not previously worked extensively in health or health policy research. The deadline to apply is October 13. To learn more, visit here 

The Career Center is the premiere online job board for individuals seeking employment in Maternal and Child Health programs. Whether you are looking for an entry-level position or are a more seasoned professional looking for new opportunities, AMCHP's Career Center has great openings for great people! Searching our database is free and open to all job-seekers. AMCHP members receive a discount on job-postings - so sign up today!

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CDC Funding for Strengthening Public Health Infrastructure for Improved Health Outcomes
Deadline: August 9
The goal of the “Strengthening Public Health Infrastructure for Improved Health Outcomes” program is to systematically increase the performance management capacity of public health departments in order to ensure that public health goals are effectively and efficiently met. This program will increase the capacity and ability of health departments to meet national public health standards, such as those of the National Public Health Performance Standard Program, Public Health Accreditation Board and National Quality Forum. To learn more, visit here 

Funding for the Coalition for a Healthier Community
Deadline: August 13
The purpose of this funding announcement is to support the implementation of evidence-based health interventions through a public health systems approach which is gender-based, cost beneficial and sustainable that address a health issue identified by the community as adversely affecting the health of its women and girls. The Office of Public Health and Science hopes to fulfill this purpose by providing support to communities to plan and implement evidence-based health and wellness projects for women and girls. Support for this cooperative agreement will be provided in two phases: I) Planning and II) Implementation. For Phase I, applicants will establish an advisory committee that includes members from the coalition to develop and conduct a health assessment to identify issues in their communities that adversely impact the health of women and girls. The planning segment will be supported for a one year period and will require a health assessment to identify the needs of the community, the development of a strategic action plan and accompanying implementation plan to address identified needs. For Phase II, funding may be approved for up to five years to enable communities to implement and evaluate evidence-based interventions. Funding for Phase II is contingent upon satisfactory performance during Phase I and the availability of Federal funds. Phase II funding will be awarded through a limited competition among successful Phase I grantees. To learn more, visit here 

CDC Funding for Engaging State and Local Emergency Management Agencies to Improve States Ability to Prepare for and Respond to All-Hazards Events
Deadline: August 16
The purpose of the program is to prepare the nation’s public health systems to minimize the consequences associated with all-hazards events. This includes the intentional or unintentional release of a biological or chemical agent causing disease and injury in the nation’s population. The public health response requires recognition of the unique yet interdependent, roles that local, state and federal agencies play to be effective. The development of infrastructure to support emergency responses must be built collaboratively. This program addresses the draft “Healthy People 2010” focus areas: Environmental Health, Immunization and Infectious Disease and Public Health Infrastructure. To learn more, visit here 

FNS Funding for WIC Breast Feeding Peer Counseling Curriculum Update and Training
Deadline: August 20
The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) will fund a competitive cooperative agreement award of up to $350,000 in Fiscal Year 2010 to a qualified applicant to: (1) update two existing FNS breastfeeding peer counseling training curricula and (2) coordinate and conduct trainings, based on each of the updated curricula, in a, train-the-trainer format for WIC state agency staff in each of the seven FNS geographic regions. To learn more, visit here. 

CDC Funding for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 Supplemental Funding to Support Enhanced Evaluation within ARRA Funded Obesity Communities
Deadline: August 20
The purpose of this supplemental funding opportunity is to expand existing collection and evaluation of individual-level data on height and, weight (used to create BMI) and, where applicable, other biometric and related measurements, in selected communities funded for obesity prevention. In addition, awardees should add or expand the use of supplementary observational measures of policy/environmental changes to augment individual-level measurements. To learn more, visit here.

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Special Events 

MCHB 75th Anniversary of Title V Commemoration
October 20
Washington, DC 

Looking to the Future: Opportunities and Challenges in Health Reform for Maternal and Child Health
October 21
Washington, DC  

Working Together to Improve Maternal and Child Health: The 2011 AMCHP and Family Voices National Conferences
February 12-15, 2011
Washington, DC


Othe MCH Events

Celebrate World Breastfeeding Week!
August 2-7 

Fourth Annual National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing, and Media
August 17-19
Atlanta, GA 

CityMatCH Urban MCH Leadership Conference
September 11–14
Chicago, IL 

AHRQ’s 2010 Annual Conference
September 27-29
Bethesda, MD  

2010 AUCD Conference
October 30-November 3
Crystal City, VA 

16th Annual MCH EPI Pre-Conference Data Skill Trainings
December 13-14
San Antonio, TX 

16th Annual CDC MCH EPI Conference
December 15-17
San Antonio, TX 

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