Posts tagged ‘AMCHP 2015’

Inspiring Connections

By Anne Fields

Policy as it pertains to public health has always been an area of interest for me and DC holds a special place in my heart, so I jumped at the opportunity to attend the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs conference held annually just steps away from Capitol Hill.  Upon reflection, AMCHP was about making connections for me.

This conference was different in many ways to the two conferences I attended last semester, but extremely fitting for my current direction on my public health journey.  I am enrolled in two courses focused on MCH policy, including one with an emphasis on the Affordable Care Act, thus, AMCHP was the perfect opportunity to engage in a broader understanding of how policy affects coverage, grants, and programs, which in turn affects all of our work as public health professionals.  I was able to make connections between what I am learning in my courses and what is actually happening on the ground.  As I am approaching graduation, these connections are essential to helping shape the direction I will take.

Additionally I had the chance to make connections with a variety of different people critical to my growth within the field of public health.  I made new connections within the Tulane community, both in New Orleans and across the country.  I made old connections with colleagues stronger.  I was able to meet key persons involved in similar work and with unique experiences from which I can learn.  Additionally, I was able to rekindle family connections that indirectly still related to my public health interests.

At this conference, I was really able to grasp the scope of public health and the potential opportunities it offers.  While this is overwhelming in many ways, it is inspiring to see so many, from so many different backgrounds, working towards common goals.

Anne Fields is a second-year MPH student, concentrating in Maternal and Child Health.  She plans to graduate in August 2015.  Her interests include adolescent health, sexual health, behavioral health integration, and immigrant populations.  She also loves running, yoga, and cooking.

February 23, 2015 at 2:00 pm Leave a comment

Igniting hope for MCH

By Kendra Gardette, BS

As a first time attendee of AMCHP, I can say my experience was both exciting and beneficial compared to other public health related conferences I have attended in the past. The conference offered ample learning opportunities, starting with the skills building sessions, and ending with the closing session speaker Ian Watlington.

During the skills building sessions, it was an eye opening experience to use diagrams such as Fish bone, and Impact Matrix with state health department professionals. This was a great opportunity to observe how large ideas are broken down into sections and how these ideas progress into a larger scheme.

I think my favorite session of this entire conference was the speaker at the closing session, Ian Watlington. Not only was his story of being an advocate for individuals with disabilities inspiring, but the delivery of his message made the session both amusing and moving. In short, his main message was that we must not only advocate for healthcare quality but we must collectively take action to address these issues in public health. Overall, Ian’s speech was authentic, enlightening, and nothing short of amazing.

In summary, the conference gave me tremendous hope that the future of public health is bright and ever igniting because of the many health professionals all over the U.S. that contribute in every realm to public health. The 2015 AMCHP conference reinforced why I personally want to serve Maternal and Child Health populations, and refreshed my excitement of working in the field in the near future to contribute to great changes.

Kendra Gardette is a second year MPH student, concentrating in Maternal & Child Health and Health Education & Communication, with an anticipated graduation date of May 2015. Her interests include sexual health, intimate partner violence and health disparities among minority women. She also enjoys reading, crafting and yoga.

February 20, 2015 at 2:00 pm Leave a comment

Impact Matrix at AMCHP Saturday Workshops

By Liz Hasseld, BA

The first seminar I attended at AMCHP also happened to be my favorite. The long title of the workshop made me a bit overwhelmed at first, “Using Quality Improvement Tools to Uncover the Root Causes of Health Systems Issues” but I soon settled in to learn.

The first step in the process of prioritizing your organization’s needs is to create an initial list of problems. This will usually take a facilitator to manage your group (whether it’s internal or also involving stakeholders). After you have formed the areas of need, you then place them on the ‘impact matrix’. These four boxes consists of ‘easy wins’ (high impact and low difficulty), ‘slogs’ (high difficulty and low impact), ‘difficult wins’ (high impact, high difficulty), and easy less effective wins (low impact and low difficulty). After this difficult process is done through consensus, the group picks its top three areas it wants to focus on. An additional tool that can then be used by organizations is the ‘fish bone’. This tool helps break down all the causes of specific problems. There was a speaker that recounted her real life use of these tools. She was from the Mississippi health department and this process took her organization months to complete, but the rewards were high. Each person involved now takes pride in the focus areas and it built consensus and collaboration among her team. I genuinely feel like I can use these tools in my professional life and I really gained a skill after this session.

For a better visual of the impact matrix and fish bone, check out these links:

http://terry-freedman.org.uk/artman/uploads/input_impact_matrix.gif

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/52/Ishikawa_Fishbone_Diagram.svg/2000px-Ishikawa_Fishbone_Diagram.svg.png

Liz Hasseld, an MCHLT Scholar, will be graduating in Summer 2015 with an MPH concentrating in Maternal and Child Health. Her interests include migrant and refugee health, reproductive health, and achieving health equity through policy. As an ESFJ, she loves to travel and meet new people and is slowly teaching herself Spanish.

February 18, 2015 at 2:00 pm Leave a comment

The Value of Professional Development and Continuing Education Through a Different Lens

By Michael Spencer, BA

AMCHP, the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs, is a leading agency providing data and information along with advocacy and support for maternal and child health programs across the United States. I’ve been fortunate enough to be a member of AMCHP since 2011 through previous employment as well as having attended the annual conference in Washington, D.C. on past occasions. The evolution of maternal and child health (MCH) has changed greatly since 2011 within the Maternal and Child Health Bureau of the Health Resources and Services Administration. Having worked previously in MCH for the last decade, being part of this action has been thrilling and rewarding.

Attending the conference this year as a student provided a different perspective to the conference than I have noted in previous years. My past experience was very focused and related to my position in public health; this time I had more freedom to explore the different topics and interests that colleagues supporting MCH efforts brought to the conference along with information about the MCH transformation occurring at the federal level.

The AMCHP conference provided an incredible opportunity to learn from partners, share ideas, and develop and maintain professional networks. I found myself learning and sharing ideas, and asking questions of partners working on the federal, state, and local level. Hearing these experiences and learning about their efforts provided a new insight to understanding the needs and priorities of women and infants, children and adolescents, and children and youth with special health care needs. These needs vary among the different regions of the country as well as between neighboring states. In addition, the opportunity to establish and maintain connections with professionals working in the field was invaluable. These established relationships provide the opportunity to call upon these individuals and ask questions or bounce ideas throughout the year. These resources help support and facilitate my learning alongside what is provided in the classroom setting here at Tulane.

I’m very fortunate to have been provided the opportunity to attend the conference through funding from the Maternal and Child Health Leadership Training Program. This program offers a plethora of resources and information on MCH and the real world experiences that we, as students, will encounter upon leaving Tulane. I would highly encourage anyone to learn more about what the MCHLT offers as well as take advantage of professional opportunities such as the AMCHP conference to further knowledge and develop networks.

Michael Spencer is a second-semester, dual-degree student pursuing a Master of Public Health and Master of Social Work. His past experience includes working in maternal and child health, primarily working with children and youth with special needs doing direct care services in a children’s hospital as well as nearly eight years in governmental administration.

February 13, 2015 at 2:00 pm Leave a comment

A Treasured MCH Experience

By Courtney Drayton, BS

The AMCHP conference was a major eye opener for me. I would have never imagined learning so much over the course of four days. Everything from public to private insurance coverage and services to the transformation of MCH based on the new health care law was enlightening. All of it was extremely applicable to the type of work I would like to do. More importantly it was great to see actual professionals coming together to find solutions from each other. All of the professionals displayed intelligence and a passion for the work that they do.

This was my first professional conference; therefore, I was not sure what to expect. As stated I learned a lot of valuable information but I learned some professional etiquette as well. The majority of the speakers were well-spoken and down to earth. Sometimes professionals can be boring and uptight, which makes it hard to really learn anything. That was not the case here. All of the facilitators of each session were very open to comments, suggestions, and experiences from all attendees (even students). For me that was great because everyone was learning from each other. Hearing various experiences about programs that worked or funding opportunities that different states received was helpful for those looking for solutions in their own states. One session really got my attention.

My favorite session was on community economic development, which took another approach to the overall work in public health. The facilitator brought so much excitement and encouragement to this topic! Understanding how to build communities that support healthy habits and living – with things like good housing, grocery stores with nutritious food, and community health centers for health education and promotion – plays a key role in sustaining many public health initiatives. Empowering women and their families to overcome the stranglehold of poverty was the ultimate goal of this session.

Another great part of the conference was the poster session. One of the other attendees from Tulane did a great job presenting her research, which was very interesting. I really enjoyed seeing examples of how public health programs are being integrated with medical interventions to improve community health. One study looked at the incidence of gestational diabetes in a high risk group and how maternal and child professionals raised awareness along with providing webinars to educate physicians and nurses. This resulted in improved birth outcomes in at least two states.

Overall I really enjoyed this experience as well as going to Washington D.C. I never imagined seeing D.C. outside of television. Meeting Tulane alumni working in Maternal and Child in the D.C. area was a really encouraging networking experience also. I met other students and professionals at the conference as well. I will be forever grateful for this opportunity to attend.

Courtney Drayton is a first year Maternal and Child Health MPH student. Her interests are in reducing health disparities among African American women as well advocating for healthy mothers to ensure healthy pregnancies and birth outcomes. She enjoys reading, eating, exercising, and learning new things.

February 11, 2015 at 2:00 pm Leave a comment


Follow us on Twitter

Categories

counter

wordpress stat