The central goal for the National Maternal & Child Health (MCH) Workforce Development Training Center is to create a continuum of learning and engagement opportunities for state and territorial Title V practitioners and MCH graduate and undergraduate students to develop the competencies required of contemporary public health leaders to implement the Affordable Care Act (ACA). These competencies include healthcare access and equity, population health management, systems integration, and quality improvement. Given the autonomy of states and varying roles for Title V, the primary target audience for the MCH Training Center will be very diverse. Thus the Center will offer a menu of online, hybrid, and face-to-face training, technical assistance and coaching opportunities to meet the needs of states in these four competency areas.
Each of the four competency areas has a core team of experts charged with developing training, technical assistance, and coaching opportunities that meets the needs of Title V practitioners and increases their ability to understand and apply principles within the competency area. All of the cores will need to work across the other cores to meet the varied needs of the states and the MCH Workforce Development Center will serve to coordinate this work.
This specific core team is focused on quality improvement (QI). Quality improvement tools and resources will be critical to public health transformation and implementation of the ACA. Public health agencies are at the early stages of beginning to strategically applying QI to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of public health services. The launch of the National Public Health Improvement Initiative (2010) and a national voluntary accreditation system for state and local health departments (2011) increased interest in and use of QI among public health practitioners. QI methods, though initially developed and used in other industries, have been shown to be applicable and effective to improve public health services. Though the field is nascent, early reports on the positive impact in public health have been impressive (Cornett 2012; Harrison 2012; Wright 2012; Smith 2012; Randolph 2013). One of the greatest barriers to the successful application of QI in public health settings is the profound lack of QI capacity within the public health workforce (Randolph 2013). Thus the QI core will focus on improving Title V staff’s capacity in using QI to implement ACA and improve Title V programs by October 1, 2016.