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
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!