AMCHP's Best Practices
As part of its commitment to serve as a national resource for members and to support state efforts to build successful MCH programs, AMCHP collects, reviews and disseminates cutting edge, emerging, promising, and best practices from public health programs across the U.S. so that effective models can be shared and replicated among the MCH community.
What is a Best Practice?
AMCHP defines "best practices" as a continuum of practices, programs, and policies that range from cutting edge, emerging, and promising, to those that have been extensively evaluated and proven effective, i.e. best practice. A best practice could focus on the health of women, infants, adolescents, young children, families or children with special health care needs. Best practice focus areas include: preconception health, mental health, data and assessment, financing, program and system integration, workforce development, injury prevention, and much more!
How are Best Practices Selected?
The Best Practices Committee and Review Panel, composed of AMCHP members, partners and other experts in the public health field, review submissions and determine if a practice meets the designated criteria. Typically, new submissions are reviewed twice per year (fall and spring). Submissions are accepted on a rolling basis.
Best Practice Categories and Criteria
Cutting Edge Practice
A cutting edge practice:
- Innovative solution to an evolving public health issue
- Aligns with experiential evidence inside and outside of public health
- Perceived benefit to MCH populations
- Early signs of success and commitment to ongoing evaluation
An emerging practice:
- Incorporates the philosophy, values, characteristics, and indicators of other positive/effective public health interventions.
- Is based on guidelines, protocols, standards, or preferred practice patterns that have been proven to lead to effective public health outcomes.
- Incorporates a process of continual quality improvement that:
- Accumulates and applies knowledge about what is working and not working in different situations and contexts;
- Continually incorporates lessons learned, feedback, and analysis to lead toward improvement or positive outcomes.
- Has an evaluation plan in place to measure program outcomes, but it does not yet have evaluation data available to demonstrate the effectiveness positive outcomes.
A promising practice, in addition to fulfilling the criteria above, has been, or is being evaluated and:
- Has strong quantitative and qualitative data showing positive outcomes, but does not yet have enough research or replication to support generalizable positive public health outcomes.
A best practice results from a rigorous process of peer review and evaluation that indicates effectiveness in improving public health outcomes for a target population. A best practice:
- Has been reviewed and substantiated by experts in the public health field according to predetermined standards of empirical research;
- Is replicable, and produces desirable results in a variety of settings.
- Clearly links positive effects to the program/practice being evaluated and not to other external factors.
Are there Best Practices in Policy?
Yes! Policies that incorporate values and characteristics of a promising practice can be considered "best practice" in Policy. In addition, the impact of policies on programs and public health outcomes can be tracked and evaluated just as programmatic efforts can (and should be) to ensure continual assessment and improvement.
To search AMCHP's current collection of practices, visit the Innovation Station database!
Submit Online Today!
AMCHP is seeking submissions of cutting edge, emerging, promising and best practices in maternal and child health from Title V programs and public health agencies. 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 and contribute to AMCHP’s
Innovation Station – a growing database of what is working in MCH. Best practice submissions are accepted on a rolling basis.
1) Click here to download a PDF copy of the submission form. The submission form is also available in a
2) When you are ready to complete and submit your application online,
- Share successes with your peers. Innovation Station provides an opportunity for you to enhance the MCH field by sharing your successful program and challenges and lessons learned with your peers, as well as policy makers and public health advocates.
- Receive national recognition. Best practices will be included in the Innovation Station database and may be featured in Pulse, AMCHP’s monthly electronic newsletter. Your state’s innovative program could receive a special award at the AMCHP annual conference.
- Contribute to program replication. AMCHP will help facilitate peer to peer technical assistance to support program and policy replication.
- Get expert feedback. Each submission is reviewed by subject matter experts who can offer suggestions to strengthen program and evaluation activities, and to move emerging and promising programs towards a "best practice."
Preparing Your Submission
The following resource will help you determine when you are ready to submit your practice and provide guidance on how to prepare a strong submission.
- Should I Submit? Readiness Checklist: Based on the Review Panel's criteria, this quick assessment will help you determine whether you are ready to submit your program to Innovation Station.
A Note About Submitting Your Best Practice
When submitting your application, please remember to:
- Clearly explain what you are doing, why you are doing it, what population are you targeting, how you are measuring success, what were the results of your activities
- Answer all questions completely as possible
- Clearly define all acronyms the first time they are used
- Check spelling
Please contact AMCHP staff if you would like any assistance with your submission.
AMCHP Best Practices Technical Assistance Project:
The Best Practices Technical Assistance Replication Project is part of an AMCHP strategic goal to improve maternal and child health outcomes by sharing effective and promising practices with state and territorial MCH programs. Recipients are awarded $10,000 each to replicate a component of a current Innovation Station practice.
Great news! AMCHP is currently accepting applications for this project until September 20th, 2016! To apply for this great opportunity please review and follow the instructions on the Request for Applications:RFA_BestPracticesTA_2016-2017.pdf
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Lynda Krisowaty at LKrisowaty@amchp.org.
Building an Evidence Base in Maternal and Child Health Practices [February 14, 2012]
This workshop session at the 2012 AMCHP Annual Conference provided an overview AMCHP’s Best Practices program and featured three Innovation Station programs and their strategies for building a strong evidence base into their practice. Featured programs were: Alaska’s Pediatric Disaster Preparedness Project, South Carolina's PASOs Program and the Oregon Care Coordination (CaCoon) program. Click here to access the session recording and PowerPoints (located under the "Workshops" tab).
Action Call: Using Continuous Quality Improvement to Target Obesity in Latina Populations [November 22, 2011]
This Collaborate 4 Healthy Weight action call featured two of AMCHP's Innovation Station practices that address obesity in Latino populations: La Vida Sana, La Vida Feliz (Chicago, IL) and the Healthy Weight Program (Holyoke, MA). Click here to download the PowerPoint and click here to watch the webinar recording.
Best Practices 101: AMCHP’s Approach to Collecting, Highlighting and Disseminating Effective Programs in MCH
On August 4, 2010, AMCHP held a webinar to provide an overview of our best practices program. Click here to download a PDF of the presentation. To hear the audio file of the presentation, click here.