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 Management Minute

What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.  Zig Ziglar

Following last month's Management Minute column, we continue in this issue to share the finished work on the strategic planning effort.

As a preliminary exercise to defining the broad goals of AMCHP, the board with the inputs obtained from our member outreach and engagement efforts, also looked at trends and general assumptions about the future.

Trends describe the recent significant shifts that are occurring now. Understanding trends gives us an idea of the necessary changes or escalation in momentum available to MCH leaders and AMCHP. Here is a sampling from the list of identified trends.

  • Increased data collection used to determine long-term outcomes
  • Heightened degrees of accountability at every level
  • State and federal political leaders are increasing their attention to generating specific returns on public spending investments (ROI)
  • There is increased attention given to using evidence-based strategies
  • The use of technology is advancing without clear linkages to systems and outcomes (technology for the sake of technology)
  • There is a significant decline in MCH workforce (50 percent projected in the next five years)
  • Medical technology is outpacing science and the capacity for effective and efficient management
  • There is a disconnect between decreased funding and improvement in health outcomes – outcomes are improving in some areas where funding is diminishing
  • Public health/MCH funds are decreasing
  • There is greater attention to integrating behavior and mental health into public health, preventive services and the broader health care payment and delivery system
  • There is an increasing awareness of the life course impact of children living in poverty
  • Direct accountability is increasing
  • There is an increasing focus on family engagement
  • The development of consumer advisory groups
  • Delivery systems are becoming more integrated
  • There is an increased emphasis on payment reform which includes traditional public health and preventive services
  • The focus on health equity is drifting to only the most vulnerable
  • Public health is becoming more dependent on nonprofit and philanthropy to fund programs

While it is impossible to predict the future with certainty, there are some assumptions about the future we also can make. These projections help us understand the actions and activities critical to achieving our vision for MCH and AMCHP. Here is a sampling from the list of assumptions for the future.

  • We can drive progress
  • Technology will continue to play a critical and evolving role in MCH and related programs
  • It will be critical for us to be smarter in the ways we talk and act
  • There will be different workforce commitments in the MCH and public health workforce
  • Public budgets at every level will be flat (at best)
  • The health delivery system will be in a state of transition for a long period of time - MCH can play an important role in sharing its experience to help shape that transition
  • Medicaid will be the drive of change in the public health and health care delivery system (similar to the role Medicare has played in the past)
  • There will be an increasing understanding of the collective impact necessary to shape changes in communities
  • Life course changes may be a role for Title V funds
  • The assurance of positive impact attainment will be a necessity
  • Innovation will drive funding (innovative approaches rather than funding existing programs) - this will require creative adjustment of effective programs
  • There will be change fatigue which may result in additional changes for MCH leaders
  • There will be quality improvements in MCH programs and health care in general
  • There will be more work to do with fewer dollars - institutional austerity will continue
  • There will be new and innovative partnerships to drive broad public health awareness and increase effectiveness and outcomes

The board next set about defining goal areas for AMCHP. The goals in the plan describe the outcomes the organization will achieve for its stakeholders (customers, partners, other stakeholders, and the organization itself). Goals have a five-year timeframe and will be reviewed every year by the board. Of course, we will continue to gather member inputs to inform this yearly goal review in the future. The board identified the following four major focus areas and their associated goals:

Goal Area 1 - EVIDENCE
AMCHP will increase the capacity of states/territories to use evidence to drive policy and program design to improve MCH outcomes and health equity.


Goal Area 2 - WORKFORCE
AMCHP will contribute to the development of a flexible, skilled workforce.


Goal Area 3 - ALIGNMENT
AMCHP will influence the alignment of resources at the federal and state levels to improve and increase support for maternal and child health.


Goal Area 4 - INVESTMENT
AMCHP will increase the investment in maternal and child health programs.


In our next issue of Management Minute in October, we'll focus this column on the objectives to achieve the four broad goal areas. By November, we will be sharing the actual final strategic plan graphic as well as elements of the accompanying operational plan including measures.

If you have any thoughts or reactions to the trends, assumptions about the future, or four major focus areas and their associated goals, your feedback is most welcome.

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