Skip Navigation Links

 Guide for Senior Managers: Author's Preface

Leading State Maternal and Child Health: A Guide for Senior Managers is designed to help you succeed at your job. If you are a senior manager in your agency responsible for the oversight or management of all or part of the Title V Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant, this manual is for you. Titles, duties, and scopes of responsibility for family health related federal and state programs vary between agencies and states, but this guide was written to be adaptable to your situation regardless of your specific position title or responsibilities. It also is useful whether you are from a state where you are the only staff member or from a state having a large number of staff devoted to block grant programs.

As requested by an advisory focus group of state leaders and other experts in the field, AMCHP framed the guide around the major leadership concepts of vision, change and relationships as well as current management concepts including planning. We reviewed conceptualizations of leadership roles by key thinkers whose writings have been used in national public health leadership institutes. These experts include Stephen Covey, Peter Senge, Edgar Schein, John Kotter and David Campbell. While varying in conceptualization of major leadership roles, this literature makes a clear distinction between leadership and management. Stuart Capper's curriculum "The Mystical Reality of Leadership," part of the MCH Leadership Institute on Systems, includes some concise comparisons of the two roles noting, "management and leadership may be different – but they are not separate." The content for this guide is consistent with Capper's idea, framing the guide around leadership roles as well as providing practical information, tips and resources for senior managers of MCH block grant and related federal and state programs.

In preparing the original guid​​e, we sought the advice of many people across the country. We would especially like to acknowledge with gratitude the following people for their assistance and support: 

  •   Cathy Hess, Health Policy Consultant    
  •   Kathy Peppe, Health Consultant
  •   Deborah Dietrich, Former Acting Executive Director, AMCHP
  •   Stephanie McDaniel, Former Director, Center for Best Practices, AMCHP
  •   Meg Booth, Former Policy Analyst, AMCHP
  •   Lisa Cain, Former Director of Center for Membership & Communications, AMCHP
  •   Sally Fogerty, Former President, AMCHP
  •   Members of the focus group listed in Appendix B​ 

In 2013 the AMCHP Workforce and Leadership Develop Committee included the task of revising this guide in their committee work plan. The Workforce and Leadership Development Committee (WDC) is one of the AMCHP organizational committees. The WDC develops strategies that will benefit how Title V staff carries out their daily duties. Some examples include identifying the issues the states are facing with respect to recruitment, training and retaining staff. This committee leverages resources from across the country to assist the Title V staff in addressing common issues such as training, technical assistance, data assessment and professional development. To accomplish this task of revising the guide a subcommittee was established representing committee members and Title V leaders to work on the revision of the guide. The subcommittee reviewed the guide and identified revisions. Based on subcommittee input the following new sections were recommended. 

  • ACA Impact on Title V
  • Family Engagement
  • Data Sources and Techniques
  • Workforce Development Resources 

The subcommittee and Title V leaders who played a big role in the revision of the guide include. 

  • Brian Castrucci, Program Director, de Beaumont Foundation
  • Eileen Forlenza, Director, Family Leadership Initiative, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
  • Holly Grason, Director, Women's & Children's Health Policy Center, Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, MCH
  • Donna Petersen, Dean and Professor, College of Public Health, University of South Florida
  • Rylin Rodgers, Family Leadership Coordinator, Riley Child Development Center
  • Nan Streeter, Deputy Director, Division of Family Health and Preparedness & Title V Director, Utah Department of Health
  • Ellen Volpe, Branch Chief, Eastern Region, Maternal and Child Health Bureau

AMCHP staff incorporated the subcommittee recommendations in the latest revisions of the guide in 2014.

​Each of these people in the original and revised guide gave freely of their knowledge, skill, expertise and time to make sure this document meets its ultimate goal – passing along to the next generation of state leaders in family health, MCH and CYSHCN programs the wisdom gained from the perspective of the program's rich history combined with the experience of past and present program leaders. We trust that we have met that expectation.​

We enjoyed the challenge presented to us in terms of meeting all of the desired content, format and utility of the guide expressed by those with whom we conferred. We have been mindful that this is a document that must remain somewhat "ageless" in its content; practical in its advice to those newly embarking on leadership positions in family health, MCH and CYSHCN programs in the states, territories or District of Columbia; helpful to the more "seasoned" leaders who may just need a reason to rethink their approach to the job; and inspiring to all senior managers who need to find their own way to do the best job they possibly can. Our bottom line message is: You Can Do It!